British Columbia

Dramatic Trans-Canada rescue saves woman's life

Police are applauding the actions of two motorists who pulled off a dramatic rescue after a woman suffered a heart attack and lost control of her vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Vancouver Thursday.
Two men are credited with saving the life of a woman slumped behind the wheel of a car on Highway 1 in B.C., the CBC's Belle Puri reports 2:21

Police are applauding the actions of two motorists who pulled off a dramatic rescue after a woman suffered a heart attack and lost control of her vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Vancouver Thursday.

According to the RCMP, a 44-year-old Langley mother of three was driving westbound along Highway 1 near Brunette Avenue in Coquitlam around 9 a.m. PT Thursday when she suffered a massive heart attack and lost consciousness.

The woman's Volkswagen Golf ran up alongside the highway barrier and continued to drive down the road, and that was when the first Good Samaritan stepped in with some quick thinking and fancy driving, according to police.

Courtenay Smith saw the woman's car swerving along the barrier of the highway and was worried it would veer into traffic going 80 kilometres an hour.

"I saw that the lady was slumped sideways over into the passenger seat," he said. So he used his minivan to block the Golf and bring it to a halt.

"I knew we had to stop the car somehow, so I pulled up in front of it, slowed down and she bumped me a couple of times but we were going too fast so we had to stop," he said.

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Annie Linteau described the manoeuvre as "an amazing display of bravery, skillful driving and quick thinking."

"Using his vehicle, he managed to safely bring the woman's car to a stop," Linteau said in a statement issued Friday.

CPR started on highway

Ron MacLeod, an enforcement officer with the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission, witnessed the incident. He pulled his truck over and turned on his emergency lights to warn off other drivers.

MacLeod and Smith then jumped out of their cars and used a tire iron to smash out the windows of the locked Golf. The woman was unconscious and had no pulse, but with the help of two other motorists, they pulled her from the car.

"I started CPR, gave two stacked breaths and checked for a pulse and no pulse so away we went," said MacLeod.

"Mr. MacLeod began performing CPR right there in the HOV lane, with little regard for his own safety," said Linteau.

About two minutes later, an RCMP traffic officer arrived, called for an ambulance and began helping with the CPR. Remarkably they managed to resuscitate the woman. Then the ambulance arrived and raced her off to hospital.

She remained in critical condition on Friday morning, said police.

Police praise Good Samaritans

"We're very thankful for the actions of Mr. Smith and Mr. MacLeod, as well as the other two motorists who stopped to help," said Linteau.

"They not only helped save this woman's life, it's very likely they also prevented other serious injuries or worse, as this all occurred on the busiest highway in the region, during rush hour," she said.

Both Smith and MacLeod said they were both just thankful they could do something to help

"It's a good feeling to be a part of a situation where you can actually make a difference," said MacLeod.