Ron Hamilton knows he is lucky to be alive and he is grateful.
On Jan. 26 at 8:30 a.m., Hamilton was driving on Sooke Road at the four lane stretch in Langford, when his Ford Fusion hit black ice.
There was no salt, no sand to prevent his car from skidding off the highway into Bilston creek. Recent rains had likely washed it all away.
“I went across two lanes and my car was air borne. I hit my head and my car was completely submerged,” Hamilton said.
He was knocked out briefly and when he came to, the front end of his car was partially submerged and he was struggling to breathe.
His thoughts were fuzzy, but he knew he didn’t want to die drowning. He had popped into the back seat after the collision and when he realized the water was staying in the car, he struggled to find an air pocket.
“Don’t panic,” was his first thought, he said. “I don’t know how long I was out but I was within two seconds of drowning.”
Luckily for Hamilton, there were other drivers out on the road and a call was made to 9-1-1.
Just as things looked really bleak, Hamilton managed to kick out the window and find the door handle to let himself out. “My hands were so numb it was hard to feel things,” he said.
He may have gotten out by himself, but he is forever thankful to the West Shore RCMP and a civilian who came onto the scene and jumped into the creek without hesitation.
“This is what they are all about — jumping in without hesitation,” said Hamilton. “The cops reacted, they didn’t take anything off, even their guns.”
Hamilton moved to Sooke last July from Mission and is amazed at the selfless actions of the RCMP team who came to his aid.
Largely invisible black ice can crop up on Sooke Road on cold and clear mornings. Even the ambulance driver who showed up at the crash scene came to a sliding stop.
“Everybody tells me that is a vicious part of the highway,” Hamilton said.
He was hypothermic and had a large bump on his head when he was taken to hospital, but otherwise walked away from the crash unharmed.
“I just want to say thank you to the police and the other guy.”