Good Samaritans help out

A Campbell River Senior is counting his lucky stars after being rescued from his vehicle

A Campbell River senior is counting his lucky stars after Marine Harvest employees extricated him from his

vehicle. Jarrod Baker, a Level 3 First Aid attendant for Marine Harvest Canada, and Michael Daniel Toppel,

were heading north to work at approximately 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19. They were a few kilometres north of Eve River

on Highway 19 when they noticed their vehicle’s temperature gauge drop from four degrees to zero within 30

seconds, says Ian Roberts, Marine Harvest Director of public affairs. “The temperature dropped so quickly and

the road flashed over with a sheet of ice,” said Baker. “Fortunately, we noticed the drop in temperature in our

company vehicle, and knew then to keep our eyes open for any vehicles that may have left the road.” As they

were driving, “I just happened to see a hand waving a glove out of the corner of my eye,” said Baker. The glove

belonged to a semi truck driver that had spotted the vehicle in the ditch because of the elevated position in his

cab and had stopped to help. “I put two and two together and I knew a car must have gone off the road,” Baker

said. In fact, the northbound pickup truck had crossed the highway, rolled down the bank, and crashed into the

trees – coming to rest on the driver’s side door. When they got down to the vehicle, the men discovered the

driver, a 72-year-old man from Campbell River, was pinned under the steering wheel, in obvious discomfort

and in shock, Roberts said. Baker assessed the victim for fractures or bleeding and, seeing none, made the

decision to extract him. “I had to climb inside to make sure that he was okay. He was obviously in shock,” said

Baker. Baker then “made the call” to get the man out of the vehicle.”It was not a safe place to be, so I made the

call, life over limb,” Baker said. “At 70 years old if something were to happen and he went into cardiac arrest it

would be impossible to do CPR in there,” said Baker, adding deciding to extricate a person is always a hard call

to make.However, there was a risk of other vehicles on the highway crashing into the same spot, and “then you

worry about fire, too. I made the choice to get him out.” The victim was successfully removed and kept under

surveillance while another passerby called Sayward Logging Sort on a two-way radio for an ambulance. The

ambulance and RCMP arrived within a half hour.  The driver was taken to Campbell River Hospital for

assessment. “There were many passersby that stopped to ask if they could help,” said Baker. “It’s comforting to

know that there are so many people willing to help if any of us who travel dangerous North Island roads get into

an accident,” he said. “That road is so dangerous and people drive so fast on it and conditions can change so

quick on it,” Baker said.

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