'He hurt this city': Toronto van attack survivor recounts year of recovery
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Toronto’s Heather Wright
Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:31PM EDT
One year ago, Cathy Riddell was walking to the library in her northern Toronto neighbourhood when her life changed forever.
Legally blind since birth, the 67-year-old former Paralympian and marathon runner typically relies on her hearing to get around safely, but did not notice an incoming van that had mounted the curb and was coming right toward her. The rest is a blur.
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“I know what happened,” she told CTV Toronto. “I know I was hit -- hit from behind -- by a man who obviously has problems.”
On April 23, 2018, Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van along the Yonge Street sidewalk in northern Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring another 16, including Riddell.
The impact of the van threw Riddell 4.5 metres into the air before she landed near a bus shelter. The collision left her with a fractured pelvis, ribs, hip and spinal damage.
Riddell would end up spending two months in hospital and has been working for the past year to regain her mobility.
“I wasn't sure how I was even going to cope with all this,” she said.
In recovery, Riddell said there have been some dark times, but adds her family and her community have been more than willing to help out.
“That means so much,” she said. “Just knowing that people care, knowing that people will drop whatever they’re doing and come running whenever you need them.”
Despite her weekly physiotherapy appointments, Riddell plans to be in attendance for each day of Minassian’scriminal trial, which is set to begin next February.
“He didn’t just hurt me, he hurt my family,” she said. “He hurt so many people. He hurt this city. He hurt this country.”
Minassian is facing 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.
With files from The Canadian Press