The disabled woman whose wheelchair was thrown down the stairs at the son of an NHL star has broken her silence, saying the whole ordeal was “heartbreaking.”
Sydney Benes, 22, who lost her legs in a car accident in 2021, was using the downstairs toilet at Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday when she discovered her wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs was damaged.
She had gone down to the bathroom with the help of a guard, leaving her chair at the top.
“All that was going through my mind was, ‘God, I hope this was an accident, I really hope someone somehow accidentally knocked it down the stairs,'” she shared. Inside editionin an episode airing tonight.
She would later learn that Mercyhurst University student Carson Brière, son of NHL star Daniel Brière, had been responsible.
‘They laughed about it. It was really hurtful and disrespectful and just heartbreaking,” she told Inside Edition.
Sydney Benes, 22, who lost her legs in a car accident in 2021, was using the downstairs toilet at Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday when she discovered her wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs was damaged. “All that was going through my mind was, ‘God, I hope this was an accident, I really hope someone somehow accidentally knocked it down the stairs,'” she said.
Sydney (pictured), the disabled woman who had her wheelchair destroyed after a former NHL player’s son pushed him down the stairs
“Carson was told to apologize to me and that apology was kind of insincere,” she said.
“People said, ‘Oh, he’s acting like a kid.’ In my opinion, no child would throw a wheelchair down the stairs, because they have a heart and morals.’
Bene’s legs were amputated two years ago after she was involved in a car accident and now her vital wheelchair has suffered significant damage.
“The brake is bent, so it’s a lot harder to lock,” she told Inside Edition. “The armrest is broken and we think the frame is bent.”
a GoFundMe was set up for her, raising more than $8,000 before closing. Benes told Inside Edition that she would use the money to replace or repair her chair. She would donate the remaining amount to other people with disabilities.
“I’d rather take this and make it a learning experience for everyone,” she told the outlet. ‘I would rather make people more aware of the things that people with disabilities have to go through. We just want a little help, a little understanding.’
This comes after she originally said she would refuse the $8,000 in cash.
“I swear I really don’t want to keep a dime of the money donated, I’d much rather give it to those who need it,” she wrote in a tweet Wednesday.
In another tweet, she adds that security personnel at Sullivan’s “had Carson come over to apologize, but it was very insincere,” claiming that after apologizing, he immediately asked, “Do I still have to to go?’ after being asked to leave the bar.
She later said that Mercyhurst University student Carson Brière, son of NHL star Daniel Brière, had been the one to push her wheelchair down the stairs. ‘They laughed about it. It was really hurtful and disrespectful and just heartbreaking,” she said
The backlash came after Brière, a junior for the Mercyhurst University hockey team in Pennsylvania, admitted to having a “serious lack of judgment” in a statement to DailyMail.com after he was caught on camera pushing the chair down a flight of stairs at Sullivan’s last weekend.
His father is Daniel Brière, 45, a former NHL player who has scored more than 300 goals in his long career. Brière, who was named interim general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers five days ago, called his son’s actions “inexcusable.”
Police in Erie confirmed to DailyMail.com that the investigation is still ongoing Thursday.
Mercyhurst confirmed the suspension of the three athletes from sports activities late Wednesday night.
“After an initial investigation into the incidents depicted on social media, the Mercyhurst Athletic Department has determined that three individuals in that video are student-athletes,” they said in a statement.
“We have temporarily suspended all three from their athletic teams based on school policy pending the outcome of the investigation process.”
In the shocking video, Brière, wearing a white baseball cap, sees the wheelchair at the top of the stairs before sliding forward in it, standing up and pushing it down the stairs.
Staff forced Brière to apologize, but Benes said it was insincere. “People said, ‘Oh, he’s acting like a kid.’ No kid would throw a wheelchair down a flight of stairs in my opinion, because they have a heart and morals,” she said
Brière, a junior for the Mercyhurst University hockey team in Pennsylvania, admitted to having a “serious lack of judgment” in a statement to DailyMail.com
Julia Zutkowski posted the shocking video on Tuesday, writing, “I normally don’t post anything serious on my twitter but something happened Saturday night and I can’t bear the thought of this kid getting away with it. In the video below is an @MercyhurstU student and currently part of the @HurstMensHockey team. Carson Briere.”
She added: ‘The chair was at the top of the stairs as she had to be physically carried down to use the toilets. They’re only downstairs.’
In a statement to DailyMail.com via the Flyers, Carson Brière said, “I am deeply sorry for my behavior on Saturday. There is no excuse for my actions and I will do what I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
Father Daniel expressed similar words of apology in a statement of his own.
“I was shocked to see Carson’s actions in the video shared on social media yesterday,” he said in a statement. “They are unforgivable and completely against our family’s values of treating people with respect. Carson regrets it and accepts full responsibility for his conduct.’
Hours after their apology, the university released a statement, both praying for Sydney and reminding people to try and allow those who have made mistakes to correct them.
“Mercyhurst University has heard outrage over the social media video of student Carson Brière showing him pushing an empty wheelchair down a flight of stairs.”
‘Mr. Brière issued a statement today accepting responsibility for his actions, acknowledging that his behavior reflects a “serious lack of judgment” and that he is “deeply sorry.”
“The actions shown in the video make our hearts heavy and fall short of our Mercy belief in the inherent dignity of every person. We pray for and stand in solidarity with the victim and all disabled people who rightly find this kind of action very hurtful.’
“Our Mercy tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make poor choices deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviors and atone for harmful actions.”
This isn’t the first time Brière has faced disciplinary issues on campus.
In 2019, Brière and another player were “fired” from the program at Arizona State University “for a violation of team rules,” according to the Walter Cronkite Sports Network.
Brière – who has received invitations to the Flyers youth development camp in the past – had never played for the young program, having gone through the NCAA “redshirting” process, which often sees college athletes not playing an entire season to extend their careers . fitness.
Carson’s father is Daniel Briere, 45, a former NHL player, seen here in a game against the New York Rangers in 2011
He played junior hockey in Canada for the rest of that school year before moving to Mercyhurst.
Brière moved from a huge, state-owned public school in Arizona to Mercyhurst, a small program at the private Catholic university with 2,700 enrollments in Erie, Pennsylvania.
A 2021 interview in College Hockey News in which he headlined that he was given a “second chance” addressed what Brière said were the reasons for his firing.
‘I just went out; I didn’t take hockey seriously. It wasn’t anything bad, it was just not being committed to hockey, I was more committed to having fun at school,” he said. “Too much partying, that’s probably the best way to put it.”
He claimed to have learned a lesson from his Arizona state experience that he used at his new school.
“It made me realize that once you get to this level, it’s a job, right? It’s not just something you can do for fun,” he said. “Of course you have to have fun while doing it. I think that’s what keeps people going, but also knowing when to do things and when not to.”
“It’s generally just maturing. I really think it was a great lesson for me, it helped me become a more all round hockey player and see life and everything in a different perspective.”