Davidson, Sask., residents step up to help after storm strands motorists

·3 min read
The scene on Highway 11 outside of Davidson on Tuesday night. (Tom Klassen - image credit)
The scene on Highway 11 outside of Davidson on Tuesday night. (Tom Klassen - image credit)

Tuesday's winter storm created treacherous road conditions in Saskatchewan and stranded several motorists, including Maryanne Jean and her family.

The Regina family was coming back from Alberta when their vehicle got stuck in Davidson, about 110 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.

They had pulled into town to ride out the storm. Once in town, they helped pull a vehicle out of the snow before getting stuck themselves.

Maryanne, her husband Jim and their four-year-old daughter then had to trek on foot to the Jubilee Inn in town.

It was only a two-minute walk but it was in blizzard conditions, Maryanne said.

"I'm only 4-foot-9 and the snow was above my knees," she said. "My husband was carrying our baby and I was carrying the blankets."

Jean said her daughter kept saying "I'm freezing."

Even though the local Jubilee Inn was full, it found space for the Jeans and provided them with some necessities, Maryanne said.

In the morning they were able to get in touch with Tom Klassen of Highway Brothers Automatic Inc., who got their truck back on the road.

CBC News
CBC News

Klassen said he initially talked to Jim around 12:30 a.m. CST, but they decided to wait until morning to pull the vehicle out.

Klassen said his company pulled out more than a dozen vehicles in the last 24 hours.

"There was another young lady we pulled out of the ditch last night. She ended up sleeping in her car in front of town hall," he said. "I guess there are not enough beds and the truck stops are full."

Some of the stranded people ended up being put up in private homes thanks to Davidson residents who stepped in to help.

CBC News
CBC News

Davidson mayor Elaine Ebenal was at a council meeting Tuesday night when she got the call to help.

She said it was treacherous outside.

"I think visibility was down to zero. We had a little bit of rain before it snowed, so I think [the roads] were quite icy," she said. "Even inside where it's sheltered there were snow drifts everywhere."

Ebenal said the town put emergency measures in place to get the motorists to safety.

"We have a list of volunteers who in an emergency will take people into their homes and give them a place to stay overnight and rest until it's OK to get out on the road again."

Ebenal said about eight people were taken into private homes, in addition to those put up at local inns and couple of people who decided to stay in their vehicles.

"We were checking for COVID vaccinations just to keep our volunteers safe here. And we had, I think, one vehicle [who] declined help because of that."

Ebenal wasn't surprise by the generosity of the townspeople.

"I've been here for quite a long time and people tend to step up when it's necessary."

She said people were very appreciative for the help.

"I'm thinking it must be quite frightening, particularly if you're traveling alone, because it was bad enough in town … I can't imagine on the highway that you could see very much. You wouldn't know if you're on the road or in the ditch."

Maryanne Jean said her family is thankful to everyone who came to help.

"With the help of Jubilee hotel, and the tow truck driver and even RCMP … we came out of the situation," Jean said.

Klassen had some tips for those that must go out in poor weather.

"Don't go anywhere without a full tank of fuel first," he said.

If you do get stuck, leave as many lights on as possible and keep the vehicle running, but make sure the exhaust isn't plugged with snow.

Then sit tight until help comes.

"Be patient. Don't get out and walk around. We don't want you to get hit by someone else [who], loses control or whatever."

There are still areas in the province where travel is not recommended.

Check the province's highway hotline at hotline.gov.sk.ca.

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