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Former employer speaks highly of woman injured in Courtenay drive-thru

A driver who was pinned between her van and the Courtenay McDonald's drive-thru window Sunday is described as "a delight" by a former employer who is planning a fundraiser for the woman.

Barry Van Dusen, owner of the Whistle Stop Neighbourhood Pub, said the 33-year-old former employee, whom he declined to identify,  was "a good worker and always full of life" when she worked for him a few years ago.

Shortly before 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day, the Courtenay woman — who has not been identified publicly — leaned out of her vehicle at the restaurant's drive-thru to pick up money that had fallen to the ground.

The van she was driving moved forward and pinned her between the wall of the drive-thru and the van door, said Const. Nicole Hall of the Comox Valley RCMP.

"It hasn't been determined if she had the vehicle in park, but it could be at some point her foot was on the brake pedal, and then her foot released," Hall said earlier this week. "That's what we're looking into, but it hasn't been confirmed."

Susan Granberg, who was driving a vehicle directly ahead of the van, which rear-ended her vehicle in the drive-thru, said she heard a loud scream.

"I looked in my rearview mirror and I thought it looked like she had cut the corner really quickly, and hit the post," she added. "Her arm was pinned, and from that moment on, it was just panic."

Granberg added emergency personnel had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the unconscious woman from her vehicle.

Van Dusen noted he found out about the accident Sunday afternoon, and said he was shocked.

"It's a horrible thing to happen to anyone, especially someone you know," he added.

He said the woman, who suffered from serious head injuries, is recovering in a Victoria-area hospital and "smiled and squeezed someone's arm" earlier this week when visitors arrived.

Van Dusen and his staff are planning a fundraiser for the former employee Nov. 30/Dec. 1 at the pub, and are collecting items for a silent auction. Anyone wishing to donate items can bring them to Tammy at the Whistle Stop in Courtenay.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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