There was a reason travel was not recommended on several highways in southeast Saskatchewan Tuesday.
Mike Holfield can attest to that. He was among several drivers who spent the night stranded on Saskatchewan’s highways.
He said he was driving slowly through whiteout conditions Tuesday night when he went off Highway 39 near Weyburn around 7 p.m.
“I was only doing about, I don’t know, five to 10 kilometres an hour and just nicely drove off the highway right into the ditch. Then, before I knew it, I was in too deep and I had to stay here,” he told 980 CJME from his vehicle Wednesday morning.
Holfield said he called for a tow truck, but no one came. When he called again at midnight, he was told it was too dangerous to send anyone out.
He spent the night with the vehicle running.
“As I sat and watched the whiteout conditions, I couldn’t see much more than five feet in front of the vehicle and I just every so often knocked the snow away from the tail pipe so I wouldn’t get any gaseous fumes in the vehicle,” he said.
Holfield said he didn’t get much sleep.
“I pretty much endured it all through the night and watched it taper out this morning.”
Holfield said a tow truck arrived around 12 hours later, just as a Good Samaritan came by and pulled him out. He said his first order of business Wednesday morning would be getting breakfast.
‘That’s Saskatchewan people for you:’ Bus driver witnesses acts of kindness near Estevan
While Holfield got caught in the worst of the storm, tour bus driver Johnny Knox thought he’d be able to make a journey on the same highway Wednesday morning. He left Weyburn at 5 a.m. in hopes of making it to Estevan to pick up a load of people.
Knox said the road conditions were fine until Macoun, a village about 28 kilometers northwest of Estevan. He said that’s when it got icy and he ran into lineups of vehicles heading both directions on the highway. But he also caught a pleasant surprise.
“There was also a couple snowmobiles going by this morning with a little wagon behind their snowmobile handing out water,” he explained.
“They were holding up water as they were going by and I saw the trailer and they had cases of water in this little pull-behind trailer on the snowmobiles. That’s just Saskatchewan people for you.”
Knox said the snowmobilers checked on him, but he was warm on his bus, which had a bathroom and food on board.