KELOWNA, BC — Thursday Dec. 11, 2012. 2:30 p.m., Pacific Time.
Bison driver (and Kelowna resident) John Lilley was westbound on Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Golden. Traffic came to a stop. The tailback started to build.
Turns out, an accident up ahead was blocking the road. On his CB, Lilley heard a request for volunteers with medical training.
With 23 years of experience as a volunteer search and rescue medical technician for Kelowna Emergency Services, Lilley responded at once.
A police officer picked him up and took him to the accident scene, where he saw that the driver of a four-door passenger vehicle had lost control while entering a tunnel. The four-wheeler had slammed into another vehicle head-on. The collision tore the side of the car wide open, from the front headlight to the back door.
There were five people in the car.
The scene was horrifying and gruesome, but Lilley told himself, “I can do this.” Managing to stay calm, he was asked to focus on the driver, who was bleeding both internally and externally.
Because of the dense fog, it took about 40 minutes for authorities to land a helicopter at the scene. During this time, Lilley continuously checked the man’s vital signs and did his best to maintain the man’s weakening pulse.
Despite Lilley’s best efforts, the driver succumbed to his injuries. Lilley recalls that day with much emotion. “I tried everything I possibly could,” he said, sadly. “I don’t regret what I tried. I know I did my best.”
This week Lilley was named a Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angel for making a valiant effort to save the drivers’ life.
For his attempt to save a life, Lilley was presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. Bison Transport also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
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