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