09/04/2012 03:51 EDT | Updated 11/04/2012 05:12 EST

Darrell Krushelnicki: Edmonton Driver Causes Crash, Saves Four Children Crossing Street


EDMONTON - Edmonton police are calling an alert driver a Good Samaritan for causing a fender-bender that saved four children crossing a busy street.

Darrell Krushelnicki is a bit stunned by the accolades and attention he's received since the crash last Friday outside a mall on the south side of the city.

But he said he'd do it again.

"Vehicles can always be repaired and replaced," the 46-year-old said Tuesday. "It's lives that are at risk. And I'm just glad it worked out for everybody."

Krushelnicki recently moved from southern Alberta to Fort Nelson, B.C., where he has a job in the oil and gas industry. He was on his way to work but stopped last week to visit his parents in Sherwood Park, a bedroom community east of Edmonton.

He had just dropped his girlfriend off at the Bonnie Doon mall and was driving out of the parking lot when he saw the children crossing the road and realized they were in danger.

The four kids, ranging in ages from three to 16, had the right of way. They were in a marked crosswalk and flashing lights had alerted drivers to stop.

Krushelnicki said all vehicles had stopped except for a silver car that was heading straight for the children. It appeared the man driving the car was on his cell phone, he said.

"He wasn't aware of the surroundings and those kids crossing the street. The timing was all bad," Krushelnicki said. "The kids were almost completely across but not quite and the vehicle was travelling at a pretty high rate of speed."

Krushelnicki was already half way into the intersection, waiting to turn, and made a split decision to drive into the path of the oncoming car. The car skimmed off the front bumper of his Hummer then turned into an adjacent service road before stopping.

Krushelnicki got out of his truck to check on the children. They were shaken up and the youngest one was crying, he said.

Police later issued a press release stating Krushelnicki's actions, verified by several witnesses, had saved the children from serious harm and possible death.

Krushelnicki said after the children were interviewed by police they walked over to talk with him again.

"They each individually thanked me and it really touched my heart."

Police have charged John Troy Heitzman, 23, with dangerous driving.

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