An old pair of blue jeans might have helped Derek Myhre save a life.
The off-duty paramedic was driving home from an errand Dec. 13, when he came across a collision between a large truck and a pedestrian at the intersection of Highway 12 and Park Road West in Steinbach.
Myhre saw the cars around him stop abruptly and immediately felt something was wrong. He parked his car, turned its four-ways on and rushed to the scene.
"That was the moment the switch flipped and my paramedic instincts took over," he said in an interview Wednesday.
Assessing the situation, Myhre told other bystanders to call 911 and gather blankets and jackets to keep the badly injured pedestrian warm.
He draped his own jacket around the 64-year-old woman as well, then removed the belt from around his waist to use it as a tourniquet.
During this time, Myhre said he spoke with the woman and tried to keep her calm. "I just kept telling them, ‘You’re going to be okay; help is on the way.’"
Myhre assisted for nearly 10 minutes until emergency services arrived on the scene. From there, RCMP and paramedics transported the injured woman to hospital, where she remains in stable condition.
"In my opinion, (Myhre) provided care that likely saved the victim’s life," said Sgt. Paul Manaigre, RCMP media relations officer. "He was in the right place at the right time."
Manaigre said Myhre did everything by the book and helped RCMP control the situation until EMS arrived.
"If there wasn’t an off-duty paramedic on the scene, the officers would’ve jumped in," he said. "We have some basic skills but (Myhre) had the most training of anyone there."
Perhaps the most interesting details: Myhre was only in Steinbach to drop off his son at daycare and run an errand for his wife, who usually drives him since she works at a school in the area; and the belt, which was used as a tourniquet, is a rare accessory for him.
"I normally throw on sweats (on days off), but I couldn’t find them and I was rather frustrated about that at the time," Myhre said. "Throwing on an old, uncomfortable pair of jeans instead definitely worked out for the best."
Myhre said he was grateful he was there to help.
"I think anyone in my line of work would have done the same thing," he said. "In that situation, you don’t think, you just do."
The 25-year-old driver of the concrete pump truck was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. He has a court date March 10 at Steinbach Provincial Court.