Following an appointment at the Hants Community Hospital, Sam Letitia Ann Kynock, who is from New Minas, was heading back to her mother’s house in Windsor Folks to pick up her children on Aug. 28.
It was a normal day and she was planning to head back home, when she collided with another vehicle on Highway 14.
Her car was crumpled into a heap, hanging over a ditch. She was hurt badly and scared.
“I was very scared; I felt the impact. At the time I didn’t know how bad I was hurt,” Kynock said.
“The side of the car had caved in and came over my left leg, so it had trapped my leg inside the car. I remember spinning around a couple of times and I stopped at the edge of a bank,” recalled Kynock.
“I remember screaming for help — there was nobody around my car, there were some over where the other car was that crashed and a man had come over to my car. He told me he was a retired (police officer),” she said. “He managed to get the passenger side door open and had leaned in. He helped me get my leg unstuck. It felt like it was on fire, like something was burning.”
Kynock said she felt pain in her back; her neck was unable to move and her hip was extremely sore.
“Thom Thompson had kept me stable enough that I wasn’t passing out. I closed my eyes a couple of times and started to doze off, but he kept saying ‘hold my hand, stay with me,’” she said. “Then a paramedic came in and helped me out.”
Kynock said she has vague memories of other people who helped her out that day including firefighters and a nurse.
“I remember them cutting me out of the car and putting me onto a backboard and I had my eyes closed because I was scared. I thought if I kept my eyes shut then it would be better for me,” she said.
She was transported by ambulance to the Hants Community Hospital in Windsor, where her injuries were treated.
As of Aug. 30, she has returned home to New Minas, where she’s still using crutches to walk. Her foot is broken, she has a concussion, and she’s bruised, but she’s on the mend.
Soon after the accident, Kynock posted to Facebook her gratitude to her rescuers and a call to action to find the people who helped her that day in order to thank them.
Within a couple of hours her post had more than 200 shares and those involved were eventually found and contacted.
Thompson, the retired police officer, Eric Poll, the paramedic, Brooklyn Fire Chief Andy McDade plus several other firefighters with the department, were eventually reached and Kynock thanked them all for their help.
“I can’t thank them enough. It made a big impact on my life because it was a very traumatizing experience. I’ve never been in an accident like that before,” she said. “They all did so much for me.”
She added that she wanted to thank all first responders: firefighters, EHS, and RCMP for all of the work they do every day.
Retired police officer helps
Thom Thompson, a retired Halifax Regional Police officer who rushed to her aid, lives in the Newport area. He said it was pure chance that allowed him to be on scene so quickly.
“I had been doing a call (with Nova Scotia Power) in the Liverpool area and was on my way back home and that accident must of happened just seconds before,” Thompson said. “When I approached, her vehicle was hanging over the bank of the road and the second vehicle was spun around backwards on the other side of the road.”
Thompson said he checked the occupants of the first vehicle and noticed they were in stable condition before heading to Kynock’s vehicle.
“I went directly up to her and noticed the passenger door was open so I sat on the seat and did what I did for 33 years,” he said. “I got her name and asked her some standard questions, like what month it was, the date.”
Thompson also got her to squeeze his hand with both of her hands.
“She complained about her leg and it appeared to me that one bone was just about sticking out through but hadn’t broken the skin,” he said. “I suspected she had a broken ankle or foot. But there was a piece of plastic stuck between her sandal and her (skin) and I was able to get that out to not cause her anymore pain.”
Thompson kept talking to her to make sure she remained conscious and aware, asking her where it hurt and joking a bit to keep her spirits up.
“She said ‘I just got back from the hospital,’ and I said, ‘well, I think you’re going to be going right back,’” he said.
Thompson said he found out that Kynock was trying to reach him via his daughter, who was recently home visiting from Alberta. One of her friends in Alberta shared the post.
“It struck a chord with me because she told me she had two little girls and their ages and everything and lo and behold my daughter… has two little girls of her own, the exact same age,” he said. “So I get a message from my daughter who asked if there was any chance it was me, because I did mention what happened to her, and when I looked through it I thought, yeah, that’s it.”
Thompson reached out to her and told her there was no need for a thank you — but she did anyway.
“She said that if my two little girls could thank you, they would,” he said.
Thompson told Kynock to tell her girls about the accident when they’re old enough to show how so many strangers stepped up to help in her time of need.
He said that his part in the accident was very small compared to the other first responders.
Thompson, who was a forensic identification specialist, when he was with the HRP, said he had seen some horrific scenes in his day and this accident brought those images back.
“I spend the best part of my time trying to forget. I’ve seen the worst of the worst, and I was having flashbacks of other scenes I had been at,” he said.
“But you know what has to be done and you do it,” he said.
“That girl was so darn lucky.”
Fire chief just doing his job
Andy McDade, chief of the Brooklyn Fire Department, was one of the rescuers at the scene. He said he didn’t do anything he wouldn’t have done for anyone else in distress.
“It was pretty cool that she reached out and found the people who assisted her,” McDade said. “It’s a real team effort.”
McDade stayed with Kynock to assist with medical treatment at the scene.
“That’s probably the worst thing that’s ever happened in her life. But little things like holding her hand while starting the IV was a big thing for her,” he said.
The RCMP is still investigating the cause of the accident.
Editor's note: a previous version of this story said Brooklyn Fire chief Andy McDade went with Kynock to the hospital, he assisted with medical aid at the scene. We regret the error.