Man found 'frozen solid' on Highway 401 treated for frostbite
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, February 28, 2014 12:08PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 28, 2014 7:55PM EST
A man is being treated for frostbite at an Ajax hospital after a tow truck driver found him wandering in the extreme cold along an Ontario highway on-ramp in a near frozen-state.
Adam Jarman from J&D Towing told CTV Toronto that he was on a "routine coffee run" early Friday morning when he heard a call on his truck radio about a man on the highway.
He went to the scene expecting to find a car in a ditch. Instead, he was shocked to find a pedestrian walking along the Highway 401 on-ramp at Salem Road, east of Toronto.
Jarman said the man was only wearing sweat pants, boots and a light jacket, not nearly enough for the freezing cold temperature.
A witness tells CTV Toronto that she saw the man shivering on the side of the highway near Neilson Road, about 20 kilometres away from where Jarman first discovered him.
Jarman says he approached the man and soon realized he was suffering from the extreme cold.
"He needed a lot of help. He was zombie-like, frozen stiff," he said. "I could not move him, he was frozen solid."
Temperature in Toronto plunged to nearly -30 C with the windchill Thursday night, and an Environment Canada extreme cold weather alert remained in effect for the city.
Jarman said he believed the man had been walking in the cold for about four hours and had frostbite on his hands. He said the man could barely talk.
"He could barely get words across. I got maybe four words out of his mouth," he said.
“It was bad, the worst case I’d ever seen, ever,” Jarman said.
Eventually Jarman managed to get the man into his truck, and took him to a nearby church. Police and paramedics arrived at the scene and the man was taken to hospital. There is no word yet on his condition.
Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Dave Woodford said police often attend to calls about pedestrians walking on the highway, but in this case the paramedics were also called because of the cold.
The man is recovering in hospital but police say they have not had a chance to speak with him yet.
As for Jarman, he just hopes the pedestrian recovers.
"I'm just doing my job," he said. "I do road-side calls as a tow truck driver and we're out there every day and making sure the highways are clear. I just go out and do what I do.
"I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery."
With files from CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney