A local woman is grateful to strangers who came to her aide after her vehicle flipped last weekend.
Nicole Friesen was driving home from work on Saturday, January 7, when the wheels of the van she was driving hit some of the gravel on the shoulder.
Friesen describes what happened after that. “I turned back too sharply and then lost control of the van. I kept trying to regain control, which did not work out for me. Then the van went across the other lane and into the ditch. It hit the front and it just flipped right over.”
Friesen was alone in the van as she was driving in the westbound lane along Hwy 52 between La Broquerie and Steinbach. She says, there were no vehicles in the eastbound lane, nor hers.
She says she was surprised as that stretch of road is usually very busy. Friesen says she was really caught off guard. “I was surprised because first the van was going like in that lane and then it just kept going back and forth until it finally went across into the ditch.” She says her van flipped front to back, not side to side.
After the vehicle stopped on its roof in the south ditch, Friesen was upside down and believes she lost consciousness for a few minutes. “When I came to it (the seatbelt) was a bit lose and I was kind of like hanging forward a bit more. Having a loose seatbelt was probably something that saved my life.”
Friesen says she has a head injury resulting in a concussion. As well, “I've got some whiplash. My spine and back hurt, but it's a miracle that it's nothing more severe than that.”
After realizing she was ok, she unbuckled herself and crawled out, that’s when she noticed the two vehicles had already stopped. “One was a man and a woman and then another one was another man. There were other people there, just standing, waiting to see and checking what was going on. And then they helped me get out. There was also a blanket sticking out of our van and the one guy, he put it around me to keep me warm.”
Friesen says, these same strangers waited with her until the First Responders arrived. “Then they also helped me walk to the First Responder vehicle where I kept warm until the ambulance came.”
She recalls seeing one woman calling 911, but Friesen says she recently downloaded an app on her phone that had also notified 911.
“It’s called the Guardian OnStar app. So, right when the accident happened, they came on the phone and asked me if there was an accident and what happened, and they dispatched to 911 immediately.”
Friesen says the sensors on her smartphone detected that something had happened (jarring motion) and automatically connected to an OnStar Emergency Advisor.
To the strangers that were so quick to come to her assistance, Friesen says she feels very cared for.
” Just to know that someone has a heart, that they care so much, that they would just help a complete stranger, it feels amazing. And, I would like to say thank you so very much. I am so grateful that you stopped to help me. It means so much to me.”
Friesen was taken to the hospital in Steinbach by ground ambulance. There was no neck fracture or brain bleed, but she sustained a mild concussion and whiplash. She is recuperating at home. The van was totaled.
With files from Corny Rempel.