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'Lucky to be alive': Lively teen walks away from head-on crash with alleged drunk driver

Noah Pasivirta sustains many injuries, but walks away from crash

A Lively teen who was hit by an alleged drunk driver on March 23 in Lively said it's “surreal” to be told by paramedics and police that he's lucky to be alive.

But lucky is exactly how Noah Pasivirta, 18, feels.

Pasivirta was leaving his home on Main Street in Lively around 8:20 p.m. and made it only a short distance before his world was turned upside down by an alleged drunk driver. He said he briefly checked his rearview mirror, and when he look back to the road in front of him, all he saw was headlights — and then nothing.

“I remember one car passed me going in the opposite direction, and there was another car quite a distance away behind that car,” Pasivirta told on Monday. “I remember that gap closing very fast, because I think he was driving very fast. I looked in my rearview quickly, then looked back and the last thing I remember is his headlights right in my face.”

Then everything went black, he said.

Greater Sudbury Police Service said they received the call around 8:25 p.m. on March 23. A blue sedan traveling south on Main Street crossed the centre line and struck a grey sedan (Pasivirta's vehicle) traveling in the opposite direction.

“The next thing I remember is trying to get out of the car with two paramedics trying to put a neck brace on me. I had no memory of anything that had happened before that. I was in complete and utter shock. I remember putting my hand on my forehead and it was full of blood, and there was blood on the airbag.”

Pasivirta said he doesn't even remember giving anyone his father's phone number, but he must have, because his dad came running down the street to the scene of the collision. His dad rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital, where he underwent a number of tests. He stayed overnight and was released early on March 24.

“It's all a blur, but I feel very, very lucky,” he said. “Even the paramedics and the police officer on the scene said I was lucky to be alive. That's a very surreal feeling.”

Police said in their report the driver of the other vehicle, a 33-year-old Chelmsford man, was also taken to hospital following the crash. An officer attended the hospital in order to speak with the driver. Greater Sudbury Police told the officer said he could smell alcohol on his breath and issued an breathalyzer test. According to police, the driver registered a fail, and report subsequent tests showed the driver to be almost three times over the legal limit, and has been charged accordingly.

He is scheduled to appear in court on April 10 in Courtroom B. Due to the fact that he was released on a promise to appear, the information has not yet been sworn to through the court process, said police, which is why they have not released his name.

Pasivirta suffered a concussion, and his knee is extremely swollen. The middle finger on his left hand is fractured and swollen, he has a gash on his head that needed to be glued shut, and his neck and back are extremely sore.

“It's minor injuries compared to what could have happened, but to me they are still very serious,” he said.

His mom, who lives in Ottawa, left for Sudbury as soon as she heard about her son's circumstance. She took him to the lot where his wrecked car was.

“It was bad,” he said.

The vehicle, an Infinity G37S, was like a dream car for him. He had only recently bought it, and he had only been driving it for 11 days before the collision.

“I had been working for, and saving for, that car for a very long time,” he said. “I'm in the car world, and I wanted something nice. It has very low mileage, it was very clean, and there wasn't a dent on it. It was exactly what I wanted, and they are rare cars. Even now, I'm trying to find another one, and I saw one in Edmonton, but it's not remotely as good as the one I had.”

Right beside his car was the one belonging to the alleged drunk driver. Pasivirta said he checked out that vehicle, too. In the front seat was an LCBO bag, and whatever bottle was in the bag, was open, he said. Just as frustrating was the fact there was a car seat in the back.

“It's frustrating to think a father would do this,” he said. “His car was totaled.”

Pasivirta said the entire experience has opened his eyes to just how quickly things can change.

“I never would have thought this could happen to me,” Pasivirta said. “I always thought I would have a second to try and avoid a crash, but I didn't. Now I have a whole new perspective on just how short life can be.”

Pasivirta said he plans to pursue legal action against the other driver, but he will be getting help from family, and getting in touch with lawyers, to start the process.

He also isn't able to return to work right now. It's a physically demanding job, and he just isn't well enough yet to perform the duties, he said.

“I really don't know a whole lot about how this works, but I'm going to be getting a lot of help,” he said.

As for the man who hit him, Pasivirta said he hopes he learns a lesson from this, because the outcome could have been so much worse.

“I know I could have been killed, and it could have ended up a lot worse for everyone,” he said.

Pasivirta knows, at least to some degree, the effect impaired driving can have. He was in the same group of friends as DJ Hancock, another Sudbury teen who was killed by a convicted drunk driver on Aug. 21, 2014.  

“I don't want this happening to anyone else,” Pasivirta said. “I really don't understand how people can push their luck with drinking and driving. It blows my mind to think that people still get behind the wheel after drinking.”

Arron Pickard

About the Author: Arron Pickard

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