Snowplow driver finds unconscious man on side of road

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

CHIPPEW A FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- A snowplow driver who found an unconscious man on the side of the road says he was in the right place at the right time.

The Chippewa County Sheriff's Department says it happened around
11: 20am Tuesday morning.

Don Bernier found the man on the side of the road near his house just north of Chippewa Falls, in the town of Eagle Point, where Bernier has been doing road maintenance for nearly 30 years.

“I went to work that morning, and the plan was to put some sand down on the intersection, so the people could stop and make the corners,” said Bernier.

But when Bernier made his usually turn by Mallard Resort, his day took a quick turn as well.

“I saw a body lying in the snow I thought it was a child playing in the snow,” he said, “when I turned around there, it hadn’t moved so I thought something is wrong.”

The 911 call record indicates:

Dispatch: Chippewa County 911.
Bernier: I need an ambulance down by the Mallard Resort.
Dispatch: What is the problem?
Bernier: There is a man down. He is in the snow bank, getting his mail. I don't know how long he's been here.

Bernier says he quickly realized the man lying on the ground was Walter Sugars who was in his 70's and lived in the house nearby.

“I kind of propped him up and got him onto my lap; and then he started to move his hands and his leg,” said Bernier.

By the snow melted under Sugars’ face, Bernier says it looked like he'd been laying unconscious for about 10-15 minutes.

“I took my jacket off and I had a hooded jacket on yesterday, and I put the hood over his head; and I wrapped the jacket around his shoulders; and then I put my arms around him to try and warm him up,” said Bernier.

Sugars’ mail was underneath him.

“His car was running in his garage; I think he had intended on just getting his mail, coming back, getting in his car and going somewhere,” said Bernier.

Bernier says he is just happy he was in the right place at the right time.

“I can't image than anybody would survive very long in as cold of weather as it was yesterday (Tuesday),” he added.

Experts say with the temperature of 20 below, like we saw Tuesday an individual could get a frost bite in less than 20 minutes. A spokesperson at Sacred Heart Hospital says Sugars is a patient there, but wouldn't comment on his condition.


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