A woman who lost her own son in a crash about three years ago was among those who recently tried to rescue a man who was trapped underwater in a crashed car.
“It brought a lot of memories back,” Nancy Hargreaves said. “I wouldn’t say I slept very good for a few nights.”
Hargreaves mentioned last week’s crash in Brandon court on Friday during sentencing for a man who caused the June 2009 crash that killed her own son, 22-year-old Jason Hargreaves.
Following court, she shared how she, friends and passing motorists tried to help a trapped man during a crash last week.
It happened around 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 along Highway 16 near Shoal Lake.
A 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier rolled in a ditch, landed in water and trapped a passenger, a 26-year-old British Columbia man.
Passersby managed to rescue the trapped man who was rushed to hospital but the driver, a 28-year-old B.C. man, had managed to escape. Sadly, the 26-year-old later died.
Hargreaves described the rescue effort on Friday.
She said she was on a road trip with her friends Pat Ardiel and Darlene McPherson and had stopped to visit a friend in Strathclair.
Just after 6 p.m., they were heading home along Highway 16 when they spotted a man on the road.
“He was running around on the road … he was just running all over the road waving his arms,” Hargreaves said.
The women pulled over, rolled down the window and the soaked man told them his car was in the ditch upside down in water and his friend was still inside.
There was a burst tire by the side of the road and tire tracks through the grass leading into the ditch, but there was no sign of a vehicle due to the deep ditch and cattails.
The car had gone in the ditch and rolled after one of its tires had blown, said the soaked man who had been the driver.
He’d barely managed to escape the submerged wreck by forcing open his door just enough to squeeze out.
It was only with a closer look that the car could be seen sticking out of the water.
“All we could see was the bottom of the car and the four tires,” Hargreaves said.
Hargreaves flagged down passing vehicles, including one that carried a man who was in the military.
He and McPherson jumped into the water but couldn’t get the car doors open and they had nothing to smash the windows.
With the help of other passing motorists flagged down by Hargreaves, the car was towed out of the water using a rope and truck.
Someone had a hammer that was used to break the window to allow trapped water to escape.
The Good Samaritans then somehow pried the door open. They then cut the seatbelt with a pocket knife and pulled the trapped man out.
Ardiel, McPherson and the military man then began CPR.
Meanwhile, another man had dialed 911 on his cellphone and Hargreaves relayed details to the dispatcher.
Emergency personnel arrived within 10 to 15 minutes.
They worked on the victim as McPherson and the man from the military continued chest compressions. The victim was then transported to hospital.
Hargreaves estimates the victim was under water for 15 minutes.
Hargreaves said the two men were university friends who were travelling from Vancouver to Thunder Bay, where they attended school.
While last week’s crash brought back memories of her own son’s death, Hargreaves said she got through it by focusing on helping the men.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 15, 2012