By Korie Marshall
Sasha Scott doesn’t remember their names, but she wants to thank the angels on the highway.
For Russians, Scott explains, New Year’s Eve is a big night with your family, as big as Christmas for Canadians. She knew she’d still be on an international flight when her family was having a drink of Champagne as the clock struck midnight, but for her it was worth getting home to see them – which meant she had to make it to the Prince George airport the evening of December 30th, 2013.
The weather was bad in northern BC, and Highway 16 was not in good shape. She left her house around 3 o’clock in the afternoon for a flight at 8:45pm, but the roads were already slippery. It took her almost three hours to get to the rest stop at Slim Creek, only about half way to her destination, and time was running out.
“I said to myself ‘Sasha, you are driving very slowly; you need to go a little bit faster.’”
She thought maybe she could go 70 kph instead of 50, because she had just two hours to get to the airport. But about 10 minutes later, the road conditions got worse again. She thought even 70 kph was too fast, and she tried to slow down.
But braking caused her to lose control of the car, and she spun around on the road. She says she thought her whole life was in front of her eyes. It was a sharp corner, and she prayed that there were no other vehicles coming.
She doesn’t quite know how, but she ended up in the ditch, almost facing back the way she came, with her driver’s side tires and the front right tire in the snow bank. Her headlights were facing into the snow bank, and she turned on her 4-way flashers. She was unable to open the driver’s door, so she climbed through to the passenger side.
Of course it was dark and the weather was still messy. There was no cell service to call BCAA, and no one else on the road – which was a good thing, Scott thought, because someone else may have been killed. She said to herself, “You are alive, the car looks ok; this is the best you can have in this situation.”
It was raining and snowing at the same time, and she hadn’t put on her jacket, but she got out her shovel and started trying to dig out the tires. When she got the rear and right tires dug out, she tried the low gear of her all-wheel-drive to get out, but no luck.
She realized by this time that she would likely be missing her plane. She said she had no other choice than to try to dig out the left front tire.
But then her legs sunk into the snow. She continued to sink, and she couldn’t feel any bottom, so she laid down and stretched out the shovel in both hands. She couldn’t even catch the car bumper or mirror, or anything – she had fallen too far away from the car.
Scott says she just laid there and thought to herself “Sasha, you cannot be nervous anymore, you need to relax. Whatever will happen – will happen. You have very powerful angels, maybe you weren’t meant to get on that plane; maybe they are protecting you from a worse accident.”
As soon as she relaxed, she saw another vehicle coming on the road. She could not wave to them because she was in the snow, but she knew they saw her emergency lights, and realized she was stuck. They stopped, and realizing someone was there to help her, she finally managed to kick herself out of the snow bank.
But Scott says the miracle of her story is these people who stopped to help. She remembers it was a yellow truck with tools, but she doesn’t remember a lot of details, having just come so close to what she thought might have been death. She suddenly thought she might make the plane again, and the guys in the truck said “Of course we’ll help you.”
They joked with her she must have been going too fast; she denied it, but she knew she had. She shovelled around the tire some more, and there was no dirt under it – it was like the snow was on air, and it’s why she didn’t reach ground when she fell.
She thought the best help would be for these guys to call BCAA for her, but they said no, they had a chain; they’d pull her car out. Scott says she was thinking about how she could pay them, whether she had any cash. “I just know, for anything, you need to pay.”
She asked if she could write them a cheque, and she says they said “No, it’s why we are here. It’s our job to help people.”
“It looks like your job is to be angels on the road,” Scott told them.
They told her not to rush to the airport, they will be following her on the road make sure she got there safely. When she arrived at the airport, she found that Air Canada had delayed the flight –she made it on the plane after all.
She says this story is about drivers on the highway who help other people, and how they helped her – her own New Year’s miracle on her way to her family in Russia. She doesn’t even think she told them how much she appreciated their help at the time, but her story turned out the best way possible because of them. She would like to find them to say thanks, and although she can’t remember their names, she will always remember their faces.