‘It’s because of you I’m still here’: Nanaimo crash survivor credits firefighters for saving his life

'It's because of you I'm still here': Nanaimo crash survivor credits firefighters for saving his life
Det Behnen is pictured.

Det Behnen says he was just doing his job but is being hailed a hero for trying to avoid a head-on crash on the Nanaimo Parkway.

“Almost gave his life to save somebody else,” Stephen Eby, a witness to the June 19 crash, told CHEK News.

Now, despite a broken neck and pelvis, the 40-year-long truck driver says he would make the same decision again.

“If I had to do it again, I’d do it again tomorrow,” said Behnen from his Duncan home on Wednesday.

“I’ve been a driver all my life, I didn’t know if there was a family of four, six or what. I just did what I felt I needed to do,” said Behnen.

Watch the report below:

Behnen had just started his shift. It was 6 a.m., and he was driving his semi from Duncan to Campbell River to pick up a load of tires for recycling.

He recalls being on the Nanaimo Parkway when he saw a dark SUV in the emergency exit. Then, he says, the driver suddenly swerved in front of him, going the wrong way.

READ PREVIOUS: 2 taken to hospital, 1 airlifted, after serious crash closes Nanaimo highway

According to witnesses, Behnen tried desperately to avoid a head-on collision, turning left then right before the semi flipped and crashed into a concrete median.

The driver of the SUV escaped with just minor injuries. But Behnen was trapped in the metal of his cab, badly injured.

“There was a couple of times I was like, well, I could just give up right now, but I kept going,” said Behnen.

The 57-year-old credits the Nanaimo firefighters who cut him free with the Jaws of Life for two-and-a-half exhausting hours with saving his life.

“Well thanks to all of you, it’s because of you I’m still here,” he said.

Behnen’s girlfriend of 10 years, Ann Edward, wanted to thank firefighters as well.

“That’s my world. That’s my best friend, I thought for sure when they told me he was being helicoptered he was gone,” Edward told CHEK News.

But Behnen says he wanted to come home to her.

“Just keep fighting … every day is borrowed time,” said Behnen.

The trucker now faces a long road to recovery ahead but hopes to return to the job he loved one day.

RCMP continue to investigate the crash.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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