Monday, January 12, 2009

Canadian Tow Truck Driver Rescues Elderly Man

Round of applause for tow truck driver Brad Bath! Here's the story:

A 75-year-old man is lucky to be alive following a brave early morning rescue by a tow truck driver.

The elderly gentleman, who suffers from Alzheimer's, was reported missing from his home near Van Horne and Warden at about 2:30am Thursday. His wife woke up to find her husband gone, the front door open, and his coat still in the closet. Frightened for his safety, and having no idea where he was, she contacted police.

Four hours later, after travelling about four kilometres along Warden, he had managed to make his way onto Highway 401 and was about to dash across the live lanes, a prospect that could have resulted in him being struck and possibly killed.

However, the tow truck driver saw what the man was about to do and came to his aid, preventing him from crossing Canada's busiest highway.

"He was about to dart into a live lane of traffic," driver Brad Bath reveals in a CityNews exclusive interview. "I blocked him with the truck and kept talking to him until the police got there."

The driver added, "If I wasnt there he could have run into a tractor trailer. Traffic (was) still pretty heavy at the time."

His heroic actions likely saved the man's life. The driver also managed to keep the senior from travelling any farther away from home, and stayed on the line with 911 operators to ensure the man was going to be okay.

On a very chilly winter night, he wasn't even wearing a coat, just his pajamas and coveralls.

"Walking out here I was very cold, can just imagine how cold he was," said one officer at the scene.

Police escorted him back home to his relieved family, and he's now doing fine.

This isn't the first time this kind of situation has cropped up.

"Wandering is very common. With someone with Alzheimer's disease, and that's because of what changes happen in the brain. It is something that is very common, but very distressing, and it can be upsetting for the person, but also of course for the family," explains Mary Schulz of the Alzheimer Society.

But patients and their families now have a resource to prepare for these kinds of emergencies. They can sign up for a service called Safely Home.

For a one-time fee of $35, the person will be registered in a database with relevant information to help authorities find them sooner if they wander off.

Schulz explains, "They register to wear a bracelet and the bracelet helps us to put information about them in a database, that the RCMP and police across the country can access if someone becomes lost."

Find out more here.

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