On a dark November night, Justin Wynker and his 12-year-old son were on their way to Chilliwack for drum practice when he saw something strange along the side of the highway.
“It was raining really, really hard and it was really dark. And I came around the corner I thought I saw something around the corner of my eye,” Justin Wynker.
“I thought I saw some headlights in the median, which is kind of weird. I thought I kind of saw a little bit of a shine…and possibly somebody standing there.”
Knowing the area sees a lot of crashes, Wynker decided to turn around. Doubling back east along Highway 1 to the Jones Lake exit, Wynker then turned and drove the same stretch of Highway 1 westbound before he spotted the man just after the Peters Road exit.
It 18-year-old Elijah John, who had nearly given up hope after escaping the wreckage of his car and trying to flag down help.
Last week, The Hope Standard wrote about John’s crash and his family’s search for the man and boy who stopped to help him, without which they believe he would not alive today.
After commenting on the story on Facebook, The Hope Standard reached out to Wynker for his version of events.
When Wynker found John, he was in rough shape. John had been on his way home from the University of the Fraser Valley, where he’s a first-year student, when he started to hydroplane and crashed.
It wasn’t clear how injured he was, but Wynker could see he was soaked from the rain, his arm was bloody and his clothing was ripped. Wynker put him into the passenger seat of his truck as his son climbed into the back and quickly called 911.
“I asked him his name and he managed to get it out. Then I asked him if he was married and he said ‘I wish’,” Wynker said, laughing as he remembered John’s answer.
But the young man couldn’t remember any names of family members to call. He was close to passing out, so Wynker kept speaking with him to keep him awake. He placed jackets on top of him to keep him warm.
The ambulance then arrived and took John to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. He now faces a long recovery from a fractured neck and ribs, and the possibility of his lungs collapsing again.
“I’m not surprised that nobody else stopped, I don’t think that anybody even saw him there,” Wynker said. “I think plenty of people would have stopped if they’d seen him.”
He is glad he found John when he did.
“He was pretty delirious when he was in the truck,” Wynker said. “It was so dark, if there was a big semi-truck coming around the corner and he was standing right on the shoulder or stumbling out in the road, nobody would have seen him.”
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