Ron Hamilton knows he is lucky to be alive and he is grateful.
Hamilton, was travelling along Sooke Road, at the four lanes, when his life took an unexpected turn.
It was Jan. 26 at 8:30 a.m. when Hamilton’s Ford Fusion hit black ice. There was no salt, no sand to prevent his car from skidding off the highway into a creek. The recent rains had likely washed it all away.
“I went across two lanes and my car was air borne. I hit my head and my car was completely submerged,” said Hamilton days after the crash.
He was knocked out briefly and when he came to his car was underwater and he was struggling to breathe. The creek itself is not that deep, but deep enough to bury the front of his car in the water.
His thoughts were fuzzy but he knew he didn’t want to die drowning. He had popped into the back seat after the collision and when he realized the water was staying in the car, he struggled to find an air pocket.
“Don’t panic,” was his first thought, he said. “I don’t know how long I was out but I was within two seconds of drowning.”
Luckily for Hamilton, there were other drivers out on the road and a call was made to 9-1-1.
Just as things looked really bleak Hamilton managed to kick out the window and find the door handle to let himself out.
“My hands were so numb it was hard to feel things,” he said.
He may have gotten out by himself but he is forever thankful to the West Shore RCMP and a civilian who came onto the scene and jumped into the creek without hesitation.
“This is what they are all about — jumping in without hesitation,” said Hamilton. “The cops reacted, they didn’t take anything off, even their guns.”
By this time Hamilton was vibrating he was shaking so bad.
He was lucky, he missed a telephone pole by about six to seven feet and the fact that his car was a four-door.
Hamilton moved to Sooke last July from Mission and is amazed at the selfless actions of the RCMP team who came to his aid. He knows that a number of factors allowed him to survive.
He talked about the need not to panic in such situations.
“My dad always said to me, ‘don’t panic.’” And his father knew what he was talking about. Hamilton’s father was a bush pilot and was once lost for a month in the bleak and barren reaches of northern Saskatchewan.
“He was flying from gas depot to gas depot and he went off course.”
Black ice is dangerous and is present on many cold and clear mornings. You can’t see it and you can’t stop on it. Even the ambulance driver who showed up at the accident scene came to a sliding stop.
“Everybody tells me that is a vicious part of the highway,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton was taken to hospital and checked out. He was hypothermic and had a large bump on his head but other than that he was okay and lucky to be alive.
“I just want to say thank you to the police and the other guy.”