Local man saves a life

While commuting to Suffield on the Trans-Canada Highway just past 7:30 a.m. a couple of weeks ago, Bart Houben noticed a vehicle parked in a rest stop in the westbound lane.

The car was between two semis with the engine running and headlights on. The driver was leaning back and looked to be sleeping.

On his way back to Medicine Hat at about 4:15 p.m., Houben noticed the man was still in the car. The vehicle was completely iced over and no longer running. The driver was slouched over and it looked like the seatbelt was holding him in place.

Houben was about to call the RCMP but his radar detector went off and up ahead was a sheriff parked in the median. Pulling over, Houben went to talk with the officer.

“I said to him there is a guy who is dead in the blue car up the road,” said Houben. “He kind of laughed at me and I said ‘I’m not joking, I seriously think there is somebody dead.'”

The sheriff took off and Houben continued on home. Once there, he called the RCMP to give them a heads up about the situation.

At 5:30 p.m. Houben received a phone call from one of the attending RCMP officers saying they found the man freezing in his car. The officer also told Houben that without his intervention, the driver of the car would have been dead within the hour.

In 2016, a video of Bart Houben following a trip to the dentist went viral and was picked up by news channels in Alberta before making it onto Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“That was a good time. We actually ended up making money off of it,” Houben recalled. “It paid for three trips, a European trip, our Hawaiian trip and our New York trip.”

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News