A woman said she is thankful to be alive to witness her son’s birthday today (May 30) after her vehicle overturned on the Dennery Valley highway yesterday morning in her attempt to save an animal.
Shirin Tobie-Paul, 33, a Canadian of St. Lucian parentage who lives in Rodney Heights, Gros Islet, was travelling to pick up someone at the Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort when she saw an opossum (manicou) on the road.
In her attempt to avoid hitting the animal, Tobie-Paul lost control of the Honda CRV which veered off the road, hit an embankment and overturned. The vehicle landed over a ditch.
“I do love animals and I guess subconsciously I did avoid it for that reason. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am an animal lover,” Tobie-Paul said.
Dennery resident, Junior Joseph, who may have been selling items on the roadside, rushed to her aid.
According to Tobie-Paul, Joseph said he thought the worst and most gruesome when he saw the vehicle went airborne and the sound of the impact when it landed.
However, she said Joseph sprung into action when he saw smoke coming from the rental vehicle.
He unlocked her seat belt and pulled her from the vehicle. The air bag was not deployed at the time.
Joseph ran with her in his arms, shouting for help.
“He (Joseph) was so traumatised … He was in shock the entire time we were there … I remember him pulling me out and running,” she said.
A woman named Rosemarie also helped. She said Rosemarie kept her hydrated and continued to fan her until the ambulance arrived – about 10 minutes after the accident. The accident occurred about 11:30 a.m.
Tobie-Paul, whose parents are St. Lucians, was treated for a bruise to the knee at the La Ressource Health Centre.
“I am surprisingly unscathed. I just have a little bruise on my knee and one band covering it,” she said.
Tobie-Paul made it clear that she was not using her cellphone while driving and she was strapped with the seat belt.
When asked about the damage to the rental car and the likely cost, Tobie-Paul said she is “not worried” but grateful to be alive to see her two children today: her son who turns three today and her four-year-old daughter.
“To everyone who sent wishes, I am so grateful for your prayers… Wow. I am doing great and I’m happy to be alive! Miracles. Junior Joseph, a resident of Dennery, thank you for helping a stranger…. sobs and tears…Thank you,” Tobie-Paul wrote in an earlier message to St. Lucia News Online.
She also expressed thanks to Rosemarie, the ambulance personnel and her well-wishers.
This was Tobie-Paul’s first ever accident. Would she save a manicou again?
“I would avoid hitting another animal,” she said.