Paul Biegel and his friend stepped out of the The Pint in downtown Edmonton at about 11 p.m. to have a smoke.
“Eric gave me a cigarette,” Biegel testified Wednesday in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench. “Right when I went to light it, he jumped out of the way. And that’s when I was struck in the back by the U-Haul van.”
Biegel was called as a witness at the trial of Abdulahi Sharif, who faces 11 charges, including five counts of attempted murder. Sharif is accused of running down a police officer on Sept. 30, 2017, and stabbing him in the head, then hitting four pedestrians with a U-Haul truck later the same night.
Biegel said the impact of the truck threw him over some cement barriers into a wall.
“After I hit the wall, I fell to the ground on my stomach,” he said. “That’s when I saw him strike the other fellow.”
Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Wheaton asked the witness to describe how the U-Haul was being driven.
“He was driving very fast. I would say aggressively,” Biegel said. “It looked like a police chase on TV.”
Biegel said he was in shock when he was taken by ambulance to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, suffering from an injured knee.
He admitted the hardest part has been the psychological impact.
“I got depressed a few months after it happened,” he testified. “I battled that pretty hard for six months. Still a little bit today. But the worst part was that six months.”
He said he still suffers from anxiety.
Second pedestrian struck
That same Saturday night, Jack Zubick also ended up at The Pint with some friends. He told the jury he decided to step outside for some fresh air because it was hot inside the bar.
He remembers walking down the steps. The next thing he recalls is waking up in the hospital on a spinal board, surrounded by police officers.
“I was in quite a bit of pain,” Zubick said. “I know at one point they gave me morphine.”
The impact of the U-Haul tore Zubick’s left knee ligament. He said the pain lasted about four months. He also suffered from headaches and tension migraines for a year after the collision.
He, too, felt an emotional impact.
“I felt like I was much more impulsive and irritable,” Zubick told the jury. “My emotions were off quite a bit. Stress and anxiety was up quite a bit from before.”
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