12/06/2013 11:08 EST | Updated 02/05/2014 05:59 EST

Kelowna man hit by car fleeing drunk-driving roadblock

A Kelowna, B.C., man is fighting for his life after being mowed down by a car that struck a fire hydrant while apparently fleeing a drunk-driving roadblock with the police in pursuit.

The incident happened at around 12:30 a.m. Friday in the city's Rutland neighbourhood, while Steve Kania was delivering newspapers for Kelowna Capital News with a red wagon.

Kania sustained serious head injuries and a broken leg in the collision and is believed to be in a coma after being rushed to hospital.

The force of the fleeing car also knocked a fire hydrant out of the ground, sending water spraying high into the air over the crash scene.

Kania is believed to have special needs and according to his aunt, Jenny Kania, has shown great determination in overcoming his difficulties to commit himself to his work.

"He's always taking classes, so he's always trying to improve himself and he's working very hard at that all the time," she said.

"[He has] more determination I think than someone who doesn't have special needs."

Jenny said news of the crash has hit the family hard.

"We were just shocked," she said. "The family doesn't need any more hardships. This is going to be very hard for them."

Glenn Beaudry of Kelowna Capital News said Kania's colleagues are shaken and concerned.

"We have been in touch with his mother during the day and we're waiting to hear back from her on his condition," he said.

Beaudry added that Kania had been delivering newspapers to the same people for seven years, and he imagines they would also be concerned.

Kelowna RCMP has refused to comment on the vehicle that hit Kania.

B.C.'s Independent Investigation Office has taken over the investigation.