On her way to work in Tsawwassen early Wednesday morning, Alyse saw some ducks waddling across Highway 17.
She swerved to avoid them, and somehow lost control of the car.
“It’s the last thing I remember,” McDonald said in an interview with the Leader Thursday.
The next thing she knew, she and her two young kids were upside down in a ditch, with water streaming in the doors.
Panic set in.
“Oh my God, we’re going to die,” she remembers thinking.
Her seatbelt had come loose, and she remembers looking back at her six-year-old son Jordan, and two-year-old daughter Haylee, who was still in her car seat, wailing.
Alyse couldn’t get out, but managed to push Jordan’s door open enough to send him to flag down a car.
Const. Aaron Jabs (pictured left), an off-duty officer with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was traveling south on Highway 17, near 52 Avenue, when he saw Jordan, who pointed out where the car was.
Due to the overgrown ditch, the vehicle was virtually invisible to passing traffic.
Jabs rushed down to the car and worked to save Haylee, a two-year-old who was stuck in the car with her mother Alyse.
Jabs ran down, and muscled the car door open to free young Haylee, who was still upside down, head closer to the water.
He managed to get both mom and Haylee free, and said he did what anyone in his situation would have done.
“I made sure they all got out of the car as quickly as possible, called 911, and then kept them all safe until emergency crews could arrive,” Jabs said in a release.
Lower Mainland District RCMP and E-Division Senior spokesperson Sgt. Peter Thiessen credits the fast action of the off-duty officer and Alyse’s use of proper child seats and seatbelts as the main reasons why there weren’t serious injuries as a result of the crash.
“Extremely violent levels of force are involved whenever a vehicle rolls or flips over while traveling at highway speeds,” Thiessen said. “If vehicle occupants aren’t wearing their seatbelts and if child restraint systems aren’t properly installed when this occurs, an occupant ejection is almost inevitable with serious injuries or death as a result. The little girl here might have ended up unconscious and under water if she had not been properly secured in her child seat or if the vehicle position had shifted while submerged.”
Alyse and her children were transported to hospital by ambulance following the collision for treatment of minor injuries and for further examination. All have since been released from hospital and are now safe at home.
Alyse said the ducks are going to have to think a little quicker next time, adding she won’t be swerving to avoid them.