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Bystander aids crash victim

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Friday, May 25, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - When Dustin Arychuk took CPR training from St. John's Ambulance, he never thought he'd be practising those skills on a man thrown from his truck that crashed on Highway 3.

Arychuk,20, arrived at the scene of an accident that took the life of Louis Patry, 31, a former Yellowknife resident, last Saturday.

RCMP spokeswoman Roxanne Dreilich said Patry lost control of his truck at around 1:30 a.m. The truck smashed into a rock wall next to the highway, and rolled across both lanes.

Arychuk was getting a ride home with his cousin when they saw Patry's truck engulfed in flames.

"I took in the scene and tried to figure out what was going on. There were about seven people already there, people who had been driving and stopped. Everybody was just standing around, not knowing what to do. They were probably in shock from the accident."

Patry was sprawled on the road 10 feet from the truck, unconscious and bleeding. Gas was leaking from the truck. Arychuk called the fire department, then got to work.Arychuk and another man moved Patry to the side of the road, close to the ditch.

"I checked his pulse. His heart wasn't beating. Everything was negative."

For the next 15 to 20 minutes, Arychuk conducted CPR on Patry, giving him mouth to mouth while another bystander did chest compressions.

"I had been doing CPR for six years. This was the first time I'd ever had to use it.

"When we first started, (Patry) would breathe back out. But I don't know if that was just a reflex."

The fire department arrived and put out the fire. Arychuk helped load Patry into the ambulance. After giving his statement to the RCMP, he went to the hospital.

"It wasn't until I reached the hospital that they told me (Patry) died of internal bleeding," said Arychuk. "The doctor that attended to him told me. It was a lot to take in."

Now that he's had time to reflect on what happened, he feels that "I did all I could do. There's only so much you can do to save a guy who suffered a severe accident like that."