A Winnipeg woman survived a near-death experience thanks to the timely intervention of a bystander that her family is calling a hero.
On the afternoon of December 29th, Karrianne Wirth was out on a daily walk with her dog, a Schnauzer-Yorkie mix, named Munchie.
Wirth was walking across Portage Avenue along Ferry Road, a cross-section she frequents regularly on her daily route around the St. James neighbourhood.
Then, something happened.
“Out of the blue, I felt sort of a sense something bad was about to happen,” Karrianne said. “And it did.”
“I was hit, then I was dragged and I was pinned under a SUV.”
Winnipeg police confirm a collision involving a pedestrian occurred in the area of Portage Avenue and Ferry Road at 2:45 p.m. Police say the driver of the vehicle was an adult female and the pedestrian, Wirth, was transported to hospital in unstable condition, later upgraded to stable condition.
For Karrianne, the details are far hazier.
“I thought this is it, this is the way I go,” she said from her hospital room, where she is recovering from a broken clavicle, pelvis, and numerous broken ribs. “I can’t breathe and I’m dead and that was it. That’s all I remember.”
Drew Ramore, co-owner of PitCrew Mobile Tire Service, happened to be driving along Portage Avenue at the time, heading downtown for a service call.
Ramore saw there was a crash but didn’t think much of it until he saw a pair of legs poking out from underneath the SUV.
“It all boiled down to timing,” said Ramore. “She didn’t have long under there.”
Ramore acted quickly, getting a tire jack out of his car, then raising the SUV so others could pull Karrianne out from underneath the vehicle.
“No one else drives around with a car jack so it was just total luck of the draw,” he said. “Maybe within twenty, thirty seconds, she had this life come back into her, choking, coughing, breathing.”
Ramore doesn’t think he did anything heroic, describing his quick-thinking as “an added job to the day.”
But Karrianne did not know how she escaped from underneath the SUV and asked her father – Allen Wirth – to find out the details.
Someone who had been at the scene of the crash pointed Wirth’s father to PitCrew.
“You know Drew, you’re a hero in our eyes, because if it hadn’t been for you, our daughter wouldn’t be with us,” said Allen Wirth, who hadn’t had a chance to speak directly to Ramore at the time.
“He was the only one who took it upon himself to do what he did.”
Karrianne feels much the same and is grateful to be alive. She thanks all of the first-responders who took care of her and the staff at HSC Winnipeg, where she is currently recovering.
Karrianne also has a message to all Manitobans dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If people could just keep up the good fight here with staying out the hospital so there’s room for folks like me when we have an accident, because accidents don’t care about COVID,” she said.
Karrianne's dog, Munchie, is also safe thanks to another Good Samaritan who brought Munchie back to her home.