‘I kept thinking I was going to lose my legs’: Victim speaks in Westlake bar crash

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WESTLAKE, OH -- A bartender who suffered severe injuries last month, when a stolen pick-up truck being chased by police slammed into a Westlake bar, is sharing her story of survival.

Bethany Capasso told Fox 8,  "I just remember hearing a really loud screeching noise of tires, also remember hearing the cops sirens and I heard that, as I hear the screeching, I look out the window and it all happened so quickly.”

Capasso was working behind the bar at Dover Gardens Tavern on October 23rd, when a stolen pick-up truck being chased by Avon police swerved to avoid stop sticks put down by Westlake police,and crashed into the building, pinning Bethany behind the bar.

"I kept thinking I was going to lose my legs, because I was pinned back so hard and I started to lose feeling in both my feet and I remember moving my toes, and saying I'm going to lose my legs, I'm not going to ever be able to walk again and so I'm very fortunate I can, very fortunate I'm alive."

A total of 12 people inside the bar were injured in the crash, including Bethany Capasso's fellow bartender, Kelly Deutschendorf.

Capasso said, "very scared, more than scared, terrified. Kelly kept telling me that she thought she was going to die, and she was telling me 'we're going to die, we're going to die ', I kept telling her 'I'm here with you, I'm not going to leave you, we're in this together'."

Capasso suffered a multitude of injuries.

"I have my right ankle, it was dislocated, I broke my tibia and my fibula, I lacerated my liver and bruised my intestines, I broke my back and three of my ribs”, she said. "It's quite a humbling experience to not even be able to reach stuff in the kitchen, not be able to shower, very frustrating. "

Doctors have told Capasso it will take another six months of recovery before she can walk.

Meanwhile, her co-worker and two customers who were injured that night are still hospitalized.

Friends and supporters have organized a fundraiser to help the two bartenders. It will be held on November 15th starting at noon at the Ironwood Cafe at 688 Dover Center in Westlake.

Bethany Capasso says she is grateful for the support of so many Clevelanders, but she has nothing but disdain for 26-year-old Brandon Pawlak, the Cleveland man who stole the truck and ran from police before crashing into the bar.

It turns out Pawlak had run from police before.

"It's just somebody that I think should have been locked up for longer, he didn't learn his lesson from before, just another loser," she said.

Capasso is careful not to criticize the police officers involved in the chase, but she has hired an attorney who is weighing her legal options.

Click here for continuing coverage on this story.

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