Portager on the scene at rollover 0
The scene of a single vehicle rollover on Highway 16 last week in the RM of Strathclair. (Submitted photo by Darryl Muir)
The RCMP are still investigating the death of a 26-year-old man who died after succumbing to injuries as a result of a single vehicle rollover on Highway 16 last week.
The incident occurred on Sept. 6 at around 6:30 p.m. when the Yellowhead RCMP were called to the scene in the RM of Strathclair, just 7 km east of Shoal Lake.
The 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier reportedly overturned after leaving the roadway while heading east on Highway 16 and ended up upside down in a ditch full of murky water.
Darryl Muir was on his way to Waywayseecappo to see his son play as he was trying out for the Terriers team.
As he was driving towards Waywayseecappo on Highway 16, he saw a van sitting at the side of the road with its hatch open but nobody around. Suspicious of the scene, Muir began to slow down and later saw the overturned car and two ladies trying to see what happened.
"There were two ladies there and a van parked on the side of the road with the hatch up. I couldn't see anybody (as I was driving) and I thought something doesn't seem right. When you see a hatch open and no one around (it's weird)," said Muir.
"You could see the back end of the car sticking out of the water. This lady was already over there and she didn't have any pants on because she'd taken them off to go into the water. There was another gentleman who was in the water who was screaming too. He was one of the people in the car and I guess he'd got out already," he said.
In shock about what he'd seen, Muir began working with the ladies to get the submerged driver out of the car. The driver, a 28-year-old man from British Columbia, somehow found a way out of the car however it's unclear whether he escaped before the car overturned or after the incident.
Cpl. Miles Hiebert of RCMP headquarters said that it was also unknown to the police and couldn't comment on the specific details of the crash because of an investigation.
Nevertheless, Muir and the ladies continued to try to get the passenger out of the Cavalier in a race against time.
Muir, who was driving a truck at the time, offered to use a tow rope to pull the car out of the water.
"You're just kind of in shock so I said to them, 'Are you sure there's somebody in there and all of them emphatically yelled YES! The water was so murky that if you put your hand in the water about a quarter-inch, you couldn't see anything. We couldn't see him in there because of the water. The whole front of the car was underwater while you could see the back end. The car was on a slope," he said.
"I said, "Let's just tow in out because I have a tow rope. So I backed my truck up and down into the ditch. By then, another man came and he went into the water to attach the tow rope. I couldn't back up far enough to hook on so another lady ran out and was stopping everybody."
The lady ensured that other drivers stopped to help out at the scene and another man with a truck had a longer tow rope to try to pull the vehicle out.
"Finally a guy had another tow rope and we got it hooked up. This guy's rope broke as we started to pull it out and I re-tied it and we pulled it right out of the water," said Muir.
Leftover murk clouded the windows as Muir and the other three people tried to break him out of the car. Muir said that they used a chain at first to try to break the window, but couldn't smash it with the tool.
Muir added that someone later grabbed a hammer and they broke the window. After cutting off his seatbelt, the collective pulled him out of the car.
"We couldn't get the door open and you still couldn't see through the window because of the murky water (on the windows). The vehicle was out of the water and we tried to break the window with a chain but that wouldn't break it," said Muir.
"Another guy brought a hammer and we broke it. We pulled the guy out and he just wasn't the right colour. He'd been completely submerged."
The RCMP and EMS eventually arrived on the scene and asked everyone to leave after collecting statements.
Muir said he stayed behind for an extra 10 minutes to surveil the scene and witnessed the RCMP trying to revive the man.
"I gave the cops my statement and they asked us to leave. I was there for a good 10 minutes after and they were working on him but they couldn't revive him," he said.
"It was pretty tragic. You open the door of this car and you see this guy lying there lifeless. It hits home. It was one of those things were you hope that no one has to deal with that kind of thing and you feel bad for the family. His friend saw his best friend pretty much pass away right in front of him."
No further information is available. Police continue to investigate.