Bystanders in Nanaimo help lift car to free woman trapped underneath

Nanaimo RCMP and bystanders credited with saving life of 72-year-old woman

A 72-year-old woman who was pinned under a car is OK thanks in part to quick thinking and muscle from bystanders and police who lifted up the vehicle.

According to a Nanaimo RCMP press release, officers on patrol were frantically flagged down by several bystanders near Rutherford Road and Nelson Road on Saturday at about 1 p.m.

The police discovered a woman was pinned under a car and appeared to be severely injured.

The bystanders told police the woman was seen sitting on the side of Rutherford Road after she had fallen from her bicycle. Seconds later, a vehicle emerged from a driveway and, for unknown reasons, drove over her.

Ashton Lommen-Clayton, who was with a friend and was driving by, saw from the road that it appeared someone had been hit by a car. The two men pulled over, heard a call for help and rushed over.

The officers and seven bystanders lifted the vehicle onto its side and held it up while one of the bystanders pulled the woman out from under it.

“I thought we were going to be lifting and sliding, but the car didn’t slide, so it literally almost flipped over, we lifted it so high…” said Lommen-Clayton, who was positioned at the back wheel well. “The cop was like, ‘Hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it, guys, hold it’ and we held it for 40 seconds or something like that. It was quite a long time, actually, because the person dragged her out fairly slow and carefully.”

He said a woman at the scene was already performing CPR even before the car had been lowered back down. The victim was initially unresponsive, but regained consciousness a few moments later.

“She was pretty much going to go into shock, so it was pretty scary,” Lommen-Clayton said.

B.C. Ambulance paramedics arrived and took the woman to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries. The woman stayed in hospital overnight and was released the next day.

Police examined the driveway and, based on witness interviews, and after speaking with the 32-year-old male driver of the car, who remained at the scene and is co-operating with police, determined he may not have seen the woman prior to driving over her. The investigation is continuing.

“Our officers would like to extend a heartfelt thank you the bystanders for their life-saving efforts,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the press release. “Without their immediate assistance this incident may have ended tragically.”


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