Carp dairy farmer Bruce Paul came to the rescue of a 40-year-old mother who was hit by a drunk driver while bicycling along McGee Side Rd. Tuesday.
OTTAWA -- A Carp family is singing the praises of a local farmer who may have saved the life of a woman who was struck and abandoned while cycling -- allegedly by an impaired city firefighter.
Dairy farmer Bruce Paul happened to be driving his tractor along McGee Side Rd around 4 p.m.
Tuesday when he noticed Jennifer Rhodes in the ditch.
Paul called 911 and cradled the woman -- a 20-year veteran nurse at Queensway-Carleton Hospital -- until paramedics arrived.
Charges are now pending against the off-duty volunteer firefighter and, according to Const. Rob Kennedy, the case has been handed over to the collision investigations squad because Rhodes’ condition had worsened.
Rhodes, who is in her 40s, was initially taken to Queensway-Carleton Hospital and later transferred to the Civic with a critical head injury.
Family say she had brain surgery on Friday and friends have noticed she seems to have no short-term memory.
Hospital staff say she has since been upgraded to fair condition -- her vital signs are stable, close to normal and she is conscious.
Kennedy said investigators received “a call from the public” which led them to the man who will face a series of charges Monday. He said the suspect did not turn himself in and is believed to have been impaired and failed to remain at the scene of the crash.
Jack Leonard, Rhodes’ father-in-law, said he’s been told the firefighter was en route to the firehall -- responding to an earlier call -- when the crash happened. When he appeared to be unwell, paramedics were called and discovered he was impaired.
City spokeswoman Jocelyn Turner confirmed the accused is a volunteer firefighter, but said he wasn’t on-duty at the time. The city has refused further comment.
The man, in his 30s, has been arrested.
For Leonard, the week has been extremely stressful. He and his wife travelled from the Smiths Falls area to care for Rhodes’ 7 year-old daughter so her husband could be at the hospital with her.
“It’s been very difficult,” he said. “I have my wife with me, but we’re not really used to this anymore.”
He said his granddaughter is frightened.
“We all are,” he said. “It’s been a really rough week.”
Friend and co-worker Aimee Fulton said she’s been scared and is trying to do positive things to keep her mind from worrying -- like starting a collection at the hospital to help pay for parking costs and also to buy a gift basket for Rhodes’ daughter.
“Thank God for Mr. Paul,” she said. “I’d really like to thank him. Jennifer is the most beautiful person in the world. She lights up a room.”
The allegation about the crash was brought to QMI Agency’s attention by someone who identified themselves as a “concerned EMS worker.” There were no media alerts issued about the crash by police, paramedics or firefighters.