Edmonton

Edmonton nursing student helps victim of Saturday night's attacks

Nena Powell was working behind the bar at the Pint on Saturday night when her manager called her outside to the scene of an emergency. The 23-year-old nursing student rushed out to 109th Street, where a man was lying unconscious in an alleyway.

Fourth-year nursing student Nena Powell stabilized one victim hit by a U-Haul van

Nena Powell helped an unconscious man hit by a U-Haul van Saturday night. (CBC)

Nena Powell was working behind the bar at the Pint on Saturday night when her manager called her outside to the scene of an emergency.

"He said, 'I need you outside right now, please stay calm,' " Powell said at a news conference Monday.

The 23-year-old nursing student rushed out to 109th Street, where a man was lying unconscious in an alleyway.

Powell checked the man's pulse and stabilized his head while waiting for first responders to arrive.

Security gathered football fans and pedestrians off the street into the bar, but Powell said she was too busy to notice.

"I didn't know what was going around me," she said. "I was just concerned about this guy's heart rate … that was the only thing I was thinking about was, 'My fingers are on his pulse,' and I was just  hoping that it wasn't going to stop."

Powell didn't know she was tending to one of the victims of an attack that shocked the city in late Saturday night.

Police say a man drove into a police roadblock near Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday evening, striking a police officer. The man then stabbed the officer and ran off.

Hours later, police say the same man was stopped while driving a U-Haul cube van.

The man sped off and drove from Wayne Gretzky Drive to Jasper Avenue with police in pursuit. The van struck pedestrians along Jasper Avenue before it was flipped on its side.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 30, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, four counts of criminal flight causing bodily harm, dangerous driving and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Five people were taken to hospital after Saturday night's events, including Const. Mike Chernyk.

Powell said by the time the ambulance came the man's pulse was getting stronger. She said she doesn't know how the man is doing now.

Soon after first responders took the man to hospital, Powell said she got back behind the bar and kept working. As rumors started to circulate that the accident was more serious, Powell said she started to feel uneasy.

"Every one of us bartenders here has 10 to 15 friends every single Saturday that we know," she said. "It's a little bit uneasy thinking that that potentially could have been anybody that we know."

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley met with Powell on Sunday and praised her actions on Facebook.

"Remember that we are a province made up of people like Nena," Notley wrote. "People who drop everything to help others in a crisis."

Any Edmontonian on the scene would have done the same thing, Powell said.

"I don't think anybody in that situation would have hesitated to go and help that man," she said. "I feel lucky that my manager came to grab me. I didn't do anything special, anything crazy. All I did is what I was taught to do."

anna.desmarais@cbc.ca

@anna_desmarais

With files from Zoe Todd

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