Justin McDonald watched in horror as a man pummelled a petite woman only one-third his size alongside West Kelowna highway.
The truck driver had a bird's-eye view from his cab and didn’t think twice about helping her. He slammed on the brakes of his truck and parked in the middle of the highway. With a winch bar in hand, he charged after the pair. It was Dec. 2, 2021, around three p.m.
He told me this story some nine-months later but for him, it was as vivid as if it happened yesterday.
The woman, McDonald explained, begged for mercy as her assailant dragged her by her hair down the sidewalk, and angrily kept whaling on her.
McDonald stepped around the side of the truck and said he bellowed at the man to stop hitting her or he’d clobber him on the head and wouldn’t stop until he quit moving. The two men went toe to toe when McDonald suddenly realized the abuser had a six-inch filet knife in his blood-covered hand.
When the trucker saw the woman bleeding out of the many holes in her shirt, he panicked. The perpetrator fled, jumped into a pickup truck and drove over a traffic sign as he sped away.
McDonald said he yelled for someone to call 911 as he tried to stop the bleeding with some balled up fresh paper towel he’d grabbed from his semi. The injured woman held the blood-soaked bundle to her abdomen and told him how some bystanders laughed and pointed but wouldn’t intervene. That was later verified by street surveillance footage.
An elderly couple appeared from nowhere and handed McDonald their cell phone to call for help. He spoke to the operator, but feared the culprit would come back and finish them all off. So he returned the phone and put on his headset to talk to the emergency dispatcher. He then stood guard with a baseball bat grip on his trusty metal rod.
Just as the police arrived, McDonald spotted the same pickup as it screeched to a halt at a nearby house. He hollered to the officers they needed to go arrest the guy and pointed in the suspect's direction.
Meanwhile, he moved his 18-wheeler off to the side of the road as it was blocking traffic. He remained until the ambulance took the woman away to hospital and told the authorities he had to deliver his load in Penticton but would go to the station later and give a statement.
As promised, he returned and gave a video recorded account of the incident. He also found out the stabbing victim was going to survive, thanks to his intervention. Somehow, it seemed the blade missed her vital organs.
McDonald said he was a mess and went for a drive later in his personal vehicle and the police stopped him. He recounted what he’d just been through and they were sympathetic. One of them put his arm around McDonald’s shoulders and told him he’d seen a lot of gruesome things in his career and was in therapy over it. Victim Services would be beneficial, the officer suggested.
However, Justin discovered victim services weren’t that useful, so he turned to TikTok and Face book for comfort instead. He met a fellow trucker and other strangers online from around the globe who consoled and supported him in the tough weeks ahead.
The victim and her mother thanked McDonald through the RCMP for saving her life.
He is an unsung hero who, in-spite-of his fear, confronted an armed and dangerous would-be murderer. He deserves a medal of bravery and proper support.
Trauma educator Emillie Macas, featured recently on The Global Morning Show, Vancouver says trauma polarization can be dangerous for those who cannot afford professional care. “Trauma dumping” occurs when social media is used to generate sympathy and backing. She says people are crying for help and 211 is the number to find free resources. Crisis Services Canada is available 24/7/365. Call 1-833-456-4566, or Text 'Start' to 45645.
Regarding the callous spectators, I think it’s terrifying to realize the human brain doesn't differentiate between fantasy and reality, and we become desensitized by watching shows featuring violent crimes and homicide.
That could explain why the amused onlookers did nothing but cheer on the offender.
We aren’t much different from those in ancient Roman times, when Christians were thrown into the ring with half- starved lions for the entertainment of a jeering crowd in the coliseum.
How close are we as a society to becoming like those barbaric ancient peoples?
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.