Katie Potts was on his way home from a camping trip with her boyfriend last year when he accidentally fell asleep at the wheel while driving on the Coquihalla Highway and the car went off the road.
Potts, who just celebrated her 21st birthday on May 9, was thrown from the vehicle and is lucky to be alive – thanks to a couple who decided to stop and help after seeing the couple desperately trying to push cars into the side of the car to mark. highway – along the Larson Hill stretch.
Now that she’s walking again and in a better mood, Potts has tracked down the couple who saved her life, and she’s looking forward to meeting them in person.
Katie Potts was a passenger in a car that ran off the Coquihalla in 2021
The Maple Ridge resident was asleep in the front passenger seat of the vehicle around 7:30 a.m., when she awoke on July 11, 2021, just south of Merritt, to find herself on the grass, outside the vehicle.
She looked to the left and saw trees and when she looked to the right she saw water – she was confused.
Then she looked at her legs and saw that her right leg had been completely severed. She said that in the confusion, she tried to put pressure on her leg because she saw that she was losing a lot of blood very quickly.
About a minute later, she said, she felt as if her right hand was in a puddle. Potts had lost three fingers, along with half of her right hand. A fourth finger, her index finger, doctors could reattach later.
She heard her friend call her name, but she didn’t have the strength to respond at the time.
Nevertheless, he found her, picked her up and pulled her out of the ditch on the side of the road, where the couple frantically tried to wave goodbye to a passing motorist.
“There were probably five to seven cars that passed us before the people came and stopped to help us,” Potts said.
Marilyn and Jarrod Thomas were on their way from Salmon Arm to Vancouver to visit their daughter when they arrived at the accident site.
Potts’ friend, whose hand was also torn open in the accident, put her in the back seat of their car.
Marilyn, Potts said, tried to keep her lips moist because she couldn’t drink water while Jarrod tried to find a way to stop the bleeding.
The pair also tried to find Pott’s missing leg and hand, but had no luck.
Potts estimates that it was after about three minutes that she told her boyfriend that he had to do something, that she felt like she was going to die as she drifted in and out of consciousness.
That’s when Jarrod pulled out the strings from his hoodie and used one as a tourniquet for her leg and the other for her hand.
It was just after that when the paramedics arrived, followed by an air ambulance that flew Potts to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
Potts would later discover that her back was broken. She was told she was still three millimeters away from paralysis.
The first surgery she had to undergo took more than 18 hours to fix her back with metal bars.
Her left foot had to be reconstructed, she also broke her left ankle and fractured her right elbow in the accident.
Potts would spend 53 days at the Royal Columbian and undergo another 10 to 14 surgeries on her hand, leg and back.
Now that she’s back home, Potts knows that if Marilyn and Jarrod didn’t quit, she might not have made it.
“Because I was losing way too much blood, way too fast, and the EMS just wouldn’t have been there in time,” she said.
She currently has a prosthesis for her right leg and has yet to undergo surgery before getting a prosthesis for her right hand as well.
She recently got a water leg and is looking forward to swimming and boating with her niece again.
Not long ago, a friend of hers came to visit from Kamloops, and she offered to put a post online to try and find the couple who helped Potts that awful day.
After sharing it with friends, it took Marilyn just 24 hours to see the message and respond. A few days ago, Marilyn and Potts spoke on the phone and are making plans to meet in person this summer.
Potts described hearing Marilyn’s voice on the phone as the most heartwarming feeling.
“I was like, yeah, that’s her, that’s my guardian angel, that’s the girl who took care of me there,” she said.
And, Potts added, the Thomases will always have a special place in her heart for taking the time from their vacation to stop and help her.
“They really are angels just walking around on this earth. There’s no better way to explain it,” she said.
† The news has contacted Marilyn and Jarrod Thomas for comment.
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