Dying Motorist Spends Last Moments With Friend

Leah Garrod had a broken leg and there was no hope of lifting the smoking SUV off her dying friend.

So she crawled over to Katie Robson and lay next to her, hoping to make her last moments as peaceful as possible.

I had to get out through the back first, said the 19-year-old Garrod, who had been sitting in the front seat of the Chevy Blazer.

I was trying to get back there to help her because she was stuck under the car. She didn’t say anything. She wasn’t conscious.

Then all I remember is my foot hurting so bad and sitting on the side of the road waiting for help.

Robson, 20, of LaSalle, died early Friday after a destructive two-car crash so fierce it sheered a steel traffic light pole off its concrete base. Three of her friends were hurt, including Garrod.

The four passengers in the Blazer all worked the afternoon shift at the Tim Hortons store near McHugh Street and Lauzon Road.

Garrod said the group had just been hanging out a friends house that evening.

It was so unexpected, said Garrod of the crash. The other car rammed us from right behind.

He sped off and we hit the pole and started rolling.

Garrod required surgery on her right foot to repair five fractures. She expects to be hospitalized for a week and will need a brace on her foot for six months. The Windsor native also has a concussion and whiplash.

Having survived the rollover, Garrod counts herself very fortunate. With the knowledge that her close friend has been snatched away so quickly and unexpectedly, numbness and confusion were the emotions that gripped her Friday evening.

I feel mostly just confused by it all, Garrod said. Its so sad. Katie was a triplet (survived by a brother, sister and her parents).

She was the one that always brought a smile to peoples faces.

While the grogginess of post-surgery clouding her memory of some details, Garrod said she gave a detailed account to police.

They were trying to push the car, trying to get it off of her, said Lori Aston-Garrod of what her daughter had told her.

Leah was trying to walk with her broken bones, legs, feet. Then she fell down and she was crawling, trying to pull Katie out and trying to resuscitate her.

She heard her gurgling and breathing lightly. She was afraid for her. She kept thinking like on the movies it would blow up and she wanted to get her out of there.

All she thought about was just caring for her and comforting her.

Police received several 911 calls around 2:50 a.m. for a crash in the 1300 block of Lauzon Road involving a Chevy Blazer and a Chevy Impala.

The Blazer had flipped several times before landing on its roof in the northbound lanes just south of Tranby Avenue. Officers found the Impala, in the southbound lanes, several blocks north with heavy front end damage and a flat front tire.

Police said a passenger in the Blazer was taken to hospital where Robson, a St. Clair College student, was later pronounced dead. The drivers of both vehicles were arrested and taken to police headquarters.

Kyle Matthew Colthurst, 28, the Impala driver, is charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death and refusing to provide a breath sample.

Calvin Joseph Crosby, 22, who was driving the Blazer, is charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

Lauzon Road between Tranby Avenue and Lauzon Line was closed until about 3 p.m. Friday. Traffic reconstruction and forensic identification specialists spent most of the day documenting the scene and gathering evidence.

Major crime investigators also help the traffic branch with the investigation. Officers canvassed the area and conducted interviews with several witnesses including the occupants of both vehicles.

The overturned Chevy Blazer, with part of the roof caved in, remained in the northbound lanes as forensic officers tried to piece together what happened. Debris including shattered car parts, clothes and a tire spread over a block.

A traffic light pole was ripped from its base and broken in two, leaving wires jutting out of the concrete curb. The largest piece of the pole had been hurtled down the road. The traffic light itself was smashed to bits.

The violent crash, with scratching and screeching of metal grinding against asphalt, woke up people living within blocks of the scene and left witnesses in shock.

Tina Vanier rolled up to the scene moments after impact to see the crumpled, smoking SUV and a terrified man crying out for help.

Just the man’s panic, he was screaming please help my friend, please help my friend, said Vanier. Then I looked down and I noticed his friend, the 20-year-old girl, she was pinned under the car. She wasn’t moving. It didn’t look good.

Florence Wilson was in bed in her third-floor apartment at Lauzon Tower when loud crunching and crashing sounds sliced through the drizzly night. She got up to see what the commotion was.

She said it seemed like several minutes before anyone emerged from the wrecked SUV. The first to escape were a young man and woman. Garrod was the last to escape. She crawled out the back window, covered in glass, with a broken ankle and a broken leg.

They were in the middle of the road and yelling for people to stop and help, said Wilson.

Aston-Garrod said her daughter and her friends tried to lift the Blazer off of Robson, but it was no use.

A minute or so later, the area was flooded with police, firefighters and paramedics. Garrod was in hospital Friday night after going through surgery.

Shes going to have casts on both legs, Aston-Garrod said.

She said her daughter was in the front passenger seat of the SUV. Katie was behind her in the back seat. Aston-Garrod said her daughter told her that Katie wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

She said the four friends in the Blazer had been headed down Lauzon Road when the Impala suddenly hit them twice and pushed them into the pole. She said her daughter ducked her head to protect herself.

She curled up in a ball while it was turning over three times, said Aston-Garrod. It rolled over three times. She curled up in a ball to protect herself. She had a seatbelt on. Without the seatbelt she would have went through the windshield. And the pole was right there. The pole went on that whole right side of the car. She said it happened so quick like the blink of an eye.

Police ask anyone with information to call the major crimes unit at 519-255-6700 ext. 4830 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477 (TIPS). You can also leave tips online at www.catchcrooks.com or on the Windsor police Facebook page.

In the event that you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver, it can be difficult to know who to contact for help. The Windsor car accident lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners have been helping to protect the rights of accident victims for decades and we have a proven history of success. For help with your claim, contact our personal injury lawyers today by calling (866) 320-4770. We charge no upfront fees if we handle your lawsuit and your initial consultation is also free of charge.

Greg Monforton & Partners – Since 1981.