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Cool-headed sheriff 'just did her job'

A local sheriff’s ability to stay cool and focused made a big difference for a Red Deer woman injured in a two-vehicle collision near Gasoline Alley last Friday.

Sheriff Candace Schmidt of Innisfail was heading to a day home at the southeast area of Red Deer to drop off her children before starting her shift at the Red Deer Courthouse.

She had just turned east onto McKenzie Road at about 7:20 a.m. — an hour before sunrise — when she saw flashing lights ahead and vehicles turning around and heading back.

A man was standing on the road beside a smashed-up pickup truck, talking on a cell phone, and there was a car in the ditch on the north side of the road.

Schmidt stopped her own vehicle and engaged its hazard lights, told her children she was going to be busy for a few minutes. She then spoke briefly with the man, who was talking with a 911 dispatcher, before heading down to the car.

She found a woman in the driver’s seat, screaming in pain, and apparently trapped behind the damaged door.

Leaning through the broken window in the driver’s door, Schmidt spoke with the woman while applying pressure to stop the blood that was gushing from her arm.

“I didn’t want to move her arm because I didn’t want to cause more damage. I held her other arm across her body and I just kept talking to her to try to get her to calm down so she didn’t lose consciousness or go into shock.”

Other drivers had now stopped at the scene and one of them offered Schmidt some gloves and rags. She asked the other drivers to get some pylons to block off the road and then returned to the injured woman.

She had one of her helpers reach around her and hold the woman’s head still while waiting for an ambulance.

“I just wanted to make sure she stayed as calm as she could. As she stays calm, I know she’s not bleeding as much.”

Schmidt said the ambulance and other police arrived very quickly, enabling her to hand off care of the injured woman and resume her drive to work.

It was only after the emergency crew took over that Schmidt phoned the courthouse to say she would be late for work.

The injured driver, a Red Deer woman in her early 50s, was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and airlifted from there to Foothills Hospital in Calgary, where RCMP have learned that she is in stable condition.

STARS spokesman Cam Heke said the flight paramedics were not able to comment on the affect of Schmidt’s actions, because they were not there to see what she did.

In general, however, the first-aid administered by RCMP, Sheriffs and other peace officers often makes a big difference in the outcome for people who are injured in vehicle collisions, said Heke.

Schmidt, 34, downplayed the role she played on Friday, stating that she was simply doing a job for which she had trained. She said one of the main reasons she chose a career with the Alberta Sheriffs is because she likes to help people.

“I just wanted to make sure that she was OK. I’m concerned how she’s doing. I haven’t heard.”

The collision remains under investigation. No charges have been laid.



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