Off-Duty Paramedic Saves Driver Who Hit Him

Despite injuries, he dragged a man across three lanes of traffic after his minivan caught fire


 
 

The Toronto Star | | Monday, November 26, 2012


TORONTO -- Geoff MacBride remembers the deafening crash -- and the horrifying feeling of flying through the air.

Then he heard the screams of bystanders as the minivan that had just hit his SUV burst into flames, its driver trapped inside.

Without a second thought, the off-duty paramedic sprinted toward the burning van to try to save the life of the driver who had just endangered his own.

MacBride, 37, pulled out the driver and dragged him across three lanes of traffic, fearful the van would explode at the crash scene near Woodbine Ave. and O'Connor Dr. Friday afternoon.

"It's amazing that I'm alive, that's all I keep thinking," MacBride said Sunday.

There was no pause, no second thought in MacBride's mind. His colleagues have called his actions "heroic." Two days after the accident, the hero is a bit stiff.

"I'm fairly immobile, I can't turn my neck, I can't lift my arm," said MacBride, recalling the shock waves the impact of the crash sent down his spine. "But you know, I will live, I will get better. I'm just happy to be alive."

Staff Sgt. James Hung confirmed the 34-year-old Toronto driver of the van was charged with impaired driving. He has since been released from custody.

Meanwhile, in the apartment MacBride shares with his cat, there was a parade of family and friends Sunday night, amazed at the paramedic's feats. Praise also came from fellow paramedics, like Adam Hobbs.

"Most people, including myself, would be checking ourselves to make sure we're still in one piece," Hobbs said. "Meanwhile (MacBride's) out there saving the guy who almost killed him. It's incredible, really."

The collision happened at about 5:30 p.m. Friday when MacBride was stopped, waiting to make a left turn.

"I saw him coming at me. The last thing I remember thinking is, 'Wow, he's going awfully fast,' " MacBride said. "Then I went flying up in the air."

The frame of MacBride's SUV buckled, and the back of his truck was now in the front. He was half a block from where he was waiting to turn before the minivan plowed into his SUV.

When he stopped, MacBride looked down and saw that "everything is in place," and then sprinted toward the flaming van.

He said he was thankful the driver door on the van opened, describing how he went into "work mode" and dragged the driver across the street.

As if saving the other driver's life wasn't enough, MacBride had a second opportunity to be a hero that day.

Fire crews had already extinguished the blaze, and left the scene, but the smouldering fire later reignited while MacBride was being treated in a nearby ambulance.

MacBride, who is president of the Toronto Paramedic Association, was the first to notice and the first to leap out of the ambulance with a fire extinguisher in hand.

"That's what we do. That's why people call us when they're having a bad day," he laughed, adding it was "kind of funny because the fire guys had to come back twice to put the same fire out."



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fire Damages Several Homes in California Earthquake

Four homes destroyed and others damaged after quake rattles Napa.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Image Trend: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ImageTrend just challenged NEMSIS TAC and a couple others.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.?

A.J. Heightman participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a big way!
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >