Ra­dio host’s road­side drama: ‘I re­ally did think he was dead’

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Lyn­ley Bilby

New­stalk ZB ra­dio host Rachel Smal­ley came to the aid of a co­matose man she feared had died ly­ing on the side of a street yes­ter­day.

The Early Edi­tion host was driv­ing to work along a de­serted West Auck­land street just af­ter 3am when she spot­ted a per­son ly­ing in a gut­ter.

She no­ticed a jacket flut­ter when a truck passed by the “lump” and went back to have a closer look.

“I looked in my rear vi­sion mir­ror but it was too dark to make out if it was a body or not so I thought I bet­ter turn around and go back. I pulled up and got out of the car and sure enough it was a man.”

As she reached down to the check the per­son she ex­pected the worst.

“I couldn’t see his face — he had a hoodie on — and it was dark but I was pretty anx­ious at this stage be­cause he looked dead to me. I put my hand on him and he was still and freez­ing cold.”

She di­alled 111 and then waited with the stricken man ly­ing awk­wardly in the gut­ter.

“I al­ways thought I’d be quite good in a sit­u­a­tion like this but be­cause I was on my own, be­cause it was pitch black, and be­cause I’ve seen some of the video clips about how vi­o­lent peo­ple have be­come on syn­thetic cannabis I have to say I was a bit ner­vous.”

The op­er­a­tor asked her to crouch be­side the man to check if he was breath­ing and see if she could find a pulse. She said he was a young man in his 20s and twice her size.

“I thought ‘if he comes around and starts swing­ing I’m prob­a­bly go­ing to be toast’. But I was wear­ing my run­ning gear so I thought ‘if push comes to shove and he wakes up and is ag­gres­sive I can prob­a­bly out­run him’. He was freez­ing cold to touch and at that point I re­ally did think he was dead.”

She even­tu­ally found a pulse but de­spite her at­tempts to rouse him, she could not wake him.

The am­bu­lance crew also had trou­ble get­ting him to come around. “The woman jumped out of the am­bu­lance and started talk­ing to the man in a very loud voice. She was yelling at him try­ing to stir him.

“And then she yelled at him ‘Mate get up, quick, the cops are com­ing’ and that’s when he moved.”

“And that’s where I left them, the man slumped in the gut­ter but alive.”

Rachel Smal­ley

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