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Father Saves Children

June 26, 2008 permalink

When Steve Whissell saw a runaway car heading for his children, he pushed them to safety at the cost of his own life. Social workers, who give each other congratulatory awards for their own actions, have no awards for parents who provide a level of care beyond anything possible from social services.



National Post, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Man sacrifices self to save his children

Father Of Five; Twins, 3, in path of runaway car

Alan Hustak, Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Father-of-five Steve Whissell sacrificed his own life to shove two of his children out of the path of a runaway car.

Mr. Whissell was in Huberdeau, a Laurentian community about 120 km northwest of Montreal, with his family for a holiday parade when the accident happened.

The family were sitting on some grass getting ready for the parade to start when a car parked at the top of a nearby hill inexplicably moved and began to roll towards those seated on the lawn.

It picked up speed as it careened down the 35-metre hill and headed straight for Mr. Whissell's family.

Mr. Whissell leapt in front of the car and managed to push his three-year-old twins, Noah and Nathan, out of harm's way. But the car rolled over him then struck his wife, Johanne Coursolle, who was holding their two-year-old daughter in her arms.

Mr. Whissell's oldest set of twins, Alexandre and Jennifer, from a previous relationship, were not harmed.

"There was a general panic," said Leslie Morrisson, who witnessed the accident. "Someone screamed, 'Get out of the way,' Then everything happened so fast. The next thing, Johanne was yelling, 'Lift the car up, lift the car up, my man is underneath."

Mr. Whissell, who lived with his in-laws in Boileau, Que., and his wife were taken to hospital in Ste. Agathe, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. He would have turned 34 tomorrow.

Ms. Coursolle is still in hospital, where she is expected to remain for two or three more days before she is released.

Mr. Whissell, who grew up in Mont-Laurier, had worked with delinquent children but had to give up his job when his youngest daughter, Lily Rose, was born two years ago and was hospitalized at St. Justine's in Montreal.

"His children and his wife were his life," his father in-law, Andre Coursolle, said yesterday.

"I have a big house, and they were living with us while his daughter was sick so he could go to Montreal to be with her. Now that she is okay, he had hoped to become a mechanic and go back to work.

"He was devoted, a solid, good guy. It is all so senseless.

We're devastated. The kids are still trying to understand why their dad is not coming home."

The Surete du Quebec is investigating the incident. Police say the car, with an automatic transmission, was legally parked in the municipal parking lot, which is at the crest of a hill used as a toboggan run in winter.

"For some unknown reason, it started to move and hit the couple," said SQ Sergeant Joyce Kemp.

Funeral arrangements will not be made until after Ms. Coursolle leaves hospital.

"Johanne wants to see Steve for one last time before we bury him," said Andre Coursolle "She wants to be well enough to be be at the funeral with the children for a final farewell."

Source: National Post