Wes Lyon and Jessica Federici were preparing for a run at Derby Reach Park in Langley on Christmas morning, when he noticed a blue car that had its motor running. It turned out there was someone inside who had apparently suffered a drug overdose (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Wes Lyon and Jessica Federici were preparing for a run at Derby Reach Park in Langley on Christmas morning, when he noticed a blue car that had its motor running. It turned out there was someone inside who had apparently suffered a drug overdose (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Good Samaritan wants to know if overdose victim survived

Christmas Day incident at Derby Reach park was an ‘eye-opening,’ rescuer says

Wes Lyon would like to know if the dark-haired woman in the blue Hyundai Tiburon survived her apparent drug overdose.

He noticed the car in the parking lot of Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley on Christmas morning, when he and girlfriend Jessica Federici arrived to go for a run.

It was parked at a “weird angle,” with the motor running and the windows rolled down, he recalled.

Someone was inside.

‘”They looked to be sleeping,” Lyon told the Langley Advance Times.

He deliberately slammed his truck door, hoping the noise would be enough to wake up the occupant.

When it didn’t, Lyon took a closer look, and saw a straw on the car dashboard that made him suspect drugs.

That was when he phoned 9-1-1.

It was just after 11 a.m.

READ ALSO: Local man finds daughter dead in Langley from drug overdose

At the suggestion of the 9-1-1 dispatcher, Lyon first banged on the car window.

The occupant, a dark-haired Caucasian woman in her late 20s or early 30s, didn’t react.

“She didn’t look out of the ordinary,” Lyon said, and the car was in good shape.

Then, again at the suggestion of the dispatcher, Lyon opened the car door and took her wrist to check for a pulse.

He could see what appeared to be a drug pipe on the passenger seat.

When he couldn’t find a pulse, Lyon pulled the woman out and started performing CPR.

It has been at least 10 years since Lyon had taken first-aid training in school, but the dispatcher talked him through it.

“It was definitely an adrenalin-pumping moment.”

Ambulance, fire, and police crews were on scene within two to four minutes, and they took over.

Lyon was told the paramedics had been able to get a “weak” pulse.

Since then, he’s been trying – without success – to find out if the woman survived.

He said police have told him it is a privacy issue, and they can’t say more.

“It would have been nice to know if we had saved a life.”

He is also curious about the three other cars that were in the parking lot at the time, wondering if their drivers had seen the blue car and decided against getting involved.

“It’s very eye-opening,” he said.

Federici said before that day, she was aware there was a problem – having read about the rising numbers of drug-related fatalities and even lost some high school friends to overdoses. But, the Christmas Day incident was the first time she had seen one happen.

“It hit home,” she said.

She was disappointed at the apparent lack of concern from a small group of bystanders at the scene, one of whom wasn’t willing to move a vehicle before the fire and ambulance crews arrived.

“It was just really sad to us,” Federici commented.

Since the ordeal, Federici said she and Lyon have discussed in the future upgrading their CPR skills to be better prepared and possibly carrying naloxone, which is used to treat overdoses.

READ ALSO: 153 people died of drug overdoses in November in B.C.; deaths climb in seniors

More than 150 British Columbians died in November due to the overdose crisis, according to a report from the BC Coroners Service released on Dec. 21.

The 153 deaths last month represented a seven-per-cent decrease from October and an 89-per-cent increase from November 2019. That equates to just over five people dying each day of the month.

The highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths happened in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, with 510 and 424 deaths, respectively.

The highest death rates were in Northern Health with 44 deaths per 100,000 people, with Vancouver Coastal Health second at 38 per 100,000.

Men continued to die at much higher rates than women, making up 81 per cent of 2020 drug deaths to date. The 293 women who have died so far in 2020 represent a 23 per cent increase from all of 2019, while the 1,255 men who have died so far this year represent a 68 per cent increase from last year.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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