Seat Belts Saved Lives in 2 Crashes—Policeman

©Provost News Photo.

A Provost RCMP officer is attributing the use of seat belts in the prevention of four deaths in two separate crashes in the area recently.

Const. Corey Martin says both of the crashes were single vehicle roll-overs in the area.

One crash was north of Hughenden, a mile west of Highway 41 on the Buffalo View Road.

Twenty-seven year old Cherise Bartley was driving a vehicle that went out of control and skidded into a ditch. The van flipped “at least three times” says Martin and came to rest about 100 feet away from the road in a farmer’s field on Wednesday, February 6 at approximately 10 a.m.

Bartley, who lives just north of Hughenden on an acreage told The News that it was both the seat belts and God “that kept us safe.” She said a quick prayer right after the rollover and then attended to three and one half year old Hana and two year old Brenna who were still strapped in their car seats, hanging upside down. They told her to “tip this thing back over” and “get me out of this thing.”

Without the seat belts we would not have been alive” the woman says. “We just took them off and walked to the road.”

Only the youngest little girl had slight cuts to the head due to flying glass.

Bartley, who received a bit of whiplash and was later slightly stiff said that after the roll-over she hunted for her phone to call 911and found it in the field where her vehicle wound up. Bill and Raymond Small came upon the scene shortly after and assisted.
Medical staff in Wainwright said that the people obviously had been wearing seat belts.

The trio had been on their way to Wainwright when the vehicle hit a ridge of loose gravel causing a loss of control.

The woman, who was born in Wainwright and had moved with her family to the Hughenden area two years ago said “I have always been sure to make sure the seat belts are (installed) perfect for the kids.” She has attended seat belt checks in Wainwright a couple of times over the years and cautions others that many people do not have children’s seats and belts installed correctly in vehicles—although they may seem to be. She suggested that only about 10 percent of seats for children are properly installed.

“I honestly think there should be more of those (seat belt checks), even every couple of months and have it well advertised.”

She added that she always uses her seat belts.

The RCMP officer said that upon arriving at the scene he was “very surprised” that there were no significant injuries. He is “quite certain” if the driver or the children had not been strapped in there would have been fatalities by virtue of being thrown out.

“This is a good reminder for people to buckle up” says Martin.

An earlier roll over was about one mile east of Provost where a man driving a truck hit an approach late one afternoon just after dark. He was on the south side of Highway 13 when travelling east. The vehicle rolled into the ditch, landing on its roof. Moments after the crash he was talking with others by the side of the road and did not appear to have serious injuries. He had been wearing his seat belt and was taken to Provost hospital where police said he was treated for a concussion.

A woman who was travelling right behind the truck said that there was a complete white out of snow kicked up when the vehicle hit the ditch and that 911 had been called. Police later told The News that they did not get a clear message from 911 operators of what took place at the time and so did not immediately attend to the scene. RCMP said that they were later in touch with the 911 operators over the incident.

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