Sask. first responders almost hit by skidding car in close call at highway crash in snowstorm

First responders Ryan Branvold and Joline Bergen were almost hit by a skidding car at the scene of a highway crash Sunday west of Regina.

Ryan Branvold and Joline Bergen are urging motorists to drive carefully when passing crash scenes

Joline Bergen and Ryan Branvold are still shaken after a near miss near Mortlach, Sask. on Sunday. (Submitted)

Ryan Branvold says it seemed to last forever.

Joline Bergen says it flashed by in a second.

The couple are volunteer first responders who live in Mortlach, about 100 kilometres west of Regina. On Sunday afternoon they had a brush with disaster while responding to a highway crash triggered by a snowstorm that roared across the province.

Both will never forget the call: Branvold for what he saw, Bergen for what she didn't see.

Branvold said the couple was called to a single-vehicle crash west of the community early Sunday afternoon. He drives a Ford F-150 outfitted with emergency lights.

They arrived at the crash scene and parked on the side of the highway with the lights activated. Branvold went down into the ditch to check on the driver while Bergen stayed on the phone with dispatch.

There was this vehicle just barrelling down right behind her and I just started screaming at her and waving at her to get out of the way.- Ryan Branvold

Bergen began walking down the slope after Branvold signalled the driver was alright.

"The wind is blowing and she couldn't really hear me and she's still talking to dispatch," he said. 

"All of a sudden there was this vehicle just barrelling down right behind her and I just started screaming at her and waving at her to get out of the way, get out of the way."

Bergen said she first thought that Branvold was signalling something had happened with the patient. Then she realized he was waving for her to move.

"I had no idea. Zero idea. It was windy, my hood was up, I'm talking to dispatch and all of a sudden he's just frantic. And I looked back and there was a black car, right there,'" she said.

"I didn't see anything. He has this memory in his head for the rest of his life, watching a car coming towards me. That's pretty traumatic for anybody."

The couple is still shaken.

Bergen is urging people to stay home when the weather takes an ugly turn as it did on the weekend. And, if travel is absolutely necessary, that people drive with caution, especially when passing accident scenes.

About the Author

Dan Zakreski

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.