In God's Hands~at the sceneSunday, October 29, 2006 Change of plans
On Saturday evening, Wanda and I and our roommate went to a friend's birthday party near Eglinton Avenue and Brentcliffe Road.
Approaching the apartment lobby, we heard the crunch and tinkling glass of a car accident on the street. Curiosity got the better of Daniel, the cake-bearer, and he headed toward the street for a look. I followed him, reasoning that it would pass the time until our host answered the buzzer.
I saw a woman sprawled in the middle of the street -- clearly one party to the thud and tinkling I had just heard. I abandoned the broccoli dish on the low brick wall and jogged out into traffic, fumbling for my phone and dialing 911. "I need an ambulance at Eglinton and Brentcliffe, a pedestrian has been struck by traffic." I looked at prone body on the wet pavement, hoping to see some sign of life. Two other gents were bent over her, one at her head and one at her feet. I saw them both bend down and I was on the verge of hollering "Don't move her!" as they abandoned the effort.
"Male or female?" "A woman, middle-aged"
"Middle-aged? What does that mean, middle-aged?"
"Thirty to thirty-five, I guess". Do they need census information before they dispatch EMS? She was an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, stylishly dressed; I didn't recognize her. The woman's eyes were wide open, staring straight ahead into the murky night sky, but I didn't see any chest movement indicating breathing. I thought she was gone.
"Is she conscious?"
"I don't know, standby." I waved a hand over the woman's face and shouted to be heard over the traffic. "Miss, are you all right? Can you hear me?" No response.
"I think she's unconscious..." "You think? You don't know?"
"Her eyes are open but she is not responding to visual or audible stimuli," I said, "She is probably in shock." Just then I saw her chest rise and fall, and her mouth twitched. I paused for a millisecond and there it was again. "She is breathing." Some of the onlookers started covering her in blankets and jackets to ward off the cold night air.
"Does she have any injuries?"
There was a small trickle of blood from the woman's mouth. No other external bleeding that I could see. Her jeans were torn at the right hip and the skin had been punctured / lacerated, but it was not bleeding. I informed the operator of the visible trauma.
"How far was she thrown?"
"Fifteen to twenty feet at least," I said, looking at a now completely detached driver-side mirror and estimating the distance to where the woman now lay. "I'm not sure if the car is still at the scene," I said to the operator, "it sounds like he may have left." The two cars bracketing the woman both had intact driver- and passenger-side mirrors.
"My God, I know her!" I looked up. My roommate Rogner was standing beside me. "It's Celia." I looked down again, but still didn't recognize her. I had met Celia once before at Rogner's birthday party several months earlier, but the catatonic woman on the pavement hardly resembled the lively, vivacious Celia. She was not, fortunately, the birthday girl -- but she was definitely supposed to be one of the attendees.
A white-haired policeman consented to Rogner riding along with Celia to the hospital. He and Rogner walked out to the newly-arrived ambulance as the EMS technicians embarked their patient.
Eventually the white-haired police officer returned and gave us the lowdown on Celia's extensive injuries. He told us what trauma center she was headed for. Celia had a lot of broken bones and some serious internal injuries, but the medical professionals didn't seem too pessimistic.
The seriousness of the situation did not really sink in until several hours after the accident when Rogner returned. Peering out the window after dinner, it was apparent that Toronto Police lingered long after EMS and TFS had departed. A big slab-sided forensics truck had joined the cruisers, and witnesses' cars had not budged an inch. In fact Eglinton Avenue East between Leslie and Brentcliffe was closed in both directions.
I saw a couple of policemen scanning the north side of Eglinton with their flashlights, and I let them know we had found Celia's Blackberry.
"It's standard procedure in fata-- ah, life-threatening accidents," replied the officer.
So there you have it. I don't know if Celia made it. But if you can spare a couple of minutes, a prayer or two probably wouldn't hurt.
Experts from a post by Chris Taylor - written at 03:33 am Sunday October 29, 2006.