Trucker hon­oured for ‘heroic’ res­cue

St. Thomas man rec­og­nized by ChathamKent po­lice


A St. Thomas trucker has been rec­og­nized for his “coura­geous and heroic ac­tions” in sav­ing the life of a Chatham man in­volved in a fiery head-on crash last month.

“I didn’t want to see him burn, so I had to help him,” said Dar­rin Gill­more, af­ter re­ceiv­ing a board ci­ta­tion from the ChathamKent Po­lice Ser­vices Board on Tues­day.

“It was trau­matic, it was scary and it was also up­lift­ing to be able to get him to safety and save his life,” he added.

Chief Gary Conn said a board ci­ta­tion is the high­est hon­our the po­lice ser­vice can be­stow on some­one.

The chief pro­vided de­tails of Gill­more’s ac­tions at ap­prox­i­mately 6 a.m. on Oct. 10, when he ar­rived at the scene of a se­ri­ous, head-on crash while trav­el­ling west on Queen’s Line, near Til­bury.

Gill­more saw a pickup truck on fire and im­me­di­ately put out the blaze, us­ing his on­board fire ex­tin­guisher to pre­vent it from spread­ing. From there, he was helped by Wayne Hart­ley in re­mov­ing Jesse Ostapec, 22, from the ve­hi­cle.

Conn noted as the man was pulled from the ve­hi­cle, the fire started again and Gill­more was able to put it out, and “ul­ti­mately as­sisted in mov­ing the driver to a point of safety for emer­gency ser­vices ar­rival.”

A 24-year-old Wy­oming man died as a re­sult of the crash, but the chief stated that, “with­out a doubt, the ac­tions of Mr. Gill­more pre­vented fur­ther in­jury or death to the driver of the pickup.”

Conn said he rec­om­mended Gill­more for the ci­ta­tion as re­sult of his “coura­geous and heroic ac­tions.”

Gill­more, who nor­mally does a long-haul route to Win­nipeg work­ing for Bi­son Trans­port, out of Mis­sis­sauga, hap­pened to be do­ing a lo­cal route that took him to Chatham on that fate­ful day.

But this wasn’t first time he has come to the aid of some­one in a burn­ing ve­hi­cle. He re­called in 1991 he pulled an el­derly man out of burn­ing ve­hi­cle in Barrie, Ont, which also earned him recog­ni­tion from Barrie po­lice.

Gill­more cred­its his ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing a trucker be­cause, “usu­ally we’re the first on the scene when some­thing like that hap­pens …”

The trucker feels he has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to stop and check when there is a se­ri­ous crash.

“You have to, be­cause if you just keep rolling … what if some­body’s alive on the road and you don’t know if they’re alive, and you roll on and they die?” Gill­more said.

“That’s just the way I am now … if I see any­thing on the road like that, I’m stop­ping, I’m help­ing some­body out … ,”

Norm Sneyd, vice-pres­i­dent of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for Bi­son Trans­port, had high praise for Gill­more.

“It takes a special per­son to do what Dar­rin did,” he said. “Not only did he stop, he was quick to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion, knew ex­actly what to do, knew the risk go­ing into it, (and) did it any­way.”

Not­ing the com­pany pro­motes its em­ploy­ees tak­ing ac­tion, he said, “we’re very proud of what Dar­rin did.”

Sneyd de­scribed Gill­more as a “solid, car­ing in­di­vid­ual. He’s done it be­fore and no doubt he’ll do it again, be­cause that’s in his DNA.”

Iron­i­cally, five days af­ter Gill­more saved a life near Til­bury, he couldn’t do any­thing to help af­ter com­ing upon a trucker who rolled his truck and hit a rock cut on High­way 17 near Thun­der Bay, on Oct. 15.

“And that’s the part that af­fects you the most is when you can’t do any­thing,” he said.

Gill­more said re­ceiv­ing the ci­ta­tion was “pretty amaz­ing,” but added, “some­times I feel I don’t war­rant that, but I look at what I’ve done and a man is alive be­cause of me. I’m pretty proud of that.” eshreve@post­ @Dai­lyNewsES


Dar­rin Gill­more, of St. Thomas, re­ceived a Board Ci­ta­tion from the Chatham-Kent Po­lice Ser­vice on Tues­day for his ef­forts in sav­ing the life of a man in­volved in a head-on col­li­sion near Til­bury in the early morn­ing of Oct. 10.

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