Exclusive: Couple, baby survive Coquihalla mishap

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By Alex Mino

In the aftermath of an intimate celebration marking the 7th year of their union, a common highway mishap almost ended in tragedy for a Filipino-Canadian couple.

But it would seem angels were on hand to save them.

Earlier, Brian and Michelle Esteras together with their two-month old baby Shiloh set out on a road trip to celebrate the couple’s wedding anniversary in Vernon.  They were actually on their way to Vernon  when forces of nature suddenly struck in a treacherous stretch of Coquihalla highway. The weather report said it will be dry and normal travel was expected.  It was not.

The couple planned to spend the weekend in Sparkling Hills to mark a milestone in their union.  Shiloh cemented their marriage.      

Travelling at 90 kilometers per hour, Brian, dad to two-month old Shiloh, lost traction in the slow lane due to an unexpected blizzard which he didn’t anticipate as the weather report suggests it would be a dry and sunny day.   

Thinking that the anti-lock brake will assist him to come to full stop, Brian tried to step hard on the brake pedal to no avail as their situation went from bad to worst.

Instead of pulling over to the shoulder, the couple’s 1998 Grand Jeep Cherokee started to spin  several times. The 32-year-old Michelle, who was sound asleep, was awakened by the continued shaking inside the vehicle.

Brian tried to regain control of the steering wheel but failed as they kept rolling.  There were luckily no vehicles coming from the passing lane.        

Repeatedly stepping on the brake while maneuvering, resulted in their vehicle crossing the meridian before flipping and turning turtle over and into a ditch. Miraculously the oncoming traffic was clear of any vehicle.  

Steve Marshall checking out the status of the victims.

Steve Marshall checking out the status of the victims.

Both of them started to panic as they stumble – while upside down — to check their son at the backseat. They saw and with a sigh of relief seeing Shiloh still intact in his car seat.

“We were spinning and spinning till our vehicle rolled over a couple times and all I could think of is Shiloh,” Michelle’s voice was trembling as she reached out for her baby in the car seat.

It seemed that a guardian angel was watching over the little one. He was glued to his carrier with the seat belt still attached.

“Smoke was coming out of the engine. I was quick to respond while Brian was still in shock. I took off my seatbelt and grabbed the car seat right away. We were stuck in the car for awhile trying to break the mirror, trying to open doors. We got freed on the passenger side,” Michelle said.  Someone opened the door.

Michelle is working as international manager of Forever New, an Australian-based company operating in Lower Mainland.

Ambulance on the scene.

Ambulance on the scene.

“I was in total shocked and went blank after losing control of the wheel. I was confident the weather is going to be a good one,” says 30-year Brian.  “I’m used to driving commercial vehicle before in this kind of weather but I didn’t have any idea that this would happen.”

Steve and Luisa Marshall were cruising along on their way to Vancouver after two successful shows in Kelowna when they noticed something on the road.  It didn’t look normal.   A vehicle was turned upside down.  Steve checked if the people were alright.

According to Brian, “Steve was already there when we finally came out of our vehicle. He checked us right away if we’re okay,” he said.

What floored Luisa and Steve was that the first item out of the vehicle was a baby. “It was really crazy,” Luisa said.

Brian, who works as recreational therapist in Kitsilano asked Steve if they can provide a warm place for the couple and the baby to chill. It was frigid outside.

Steve brought the family right away to their RV and hosted them there until the paramedics arrived.

Since the couple won’t be able to drive their vehicle as it was in total wreck, Steve and wife Luisa Marshall arranged a booking for an overnight stay in a nearby hotel. The local RCMP warned them conditions will deteriorate at nightfall.

From left: Steve Marshall, Brian Esteras, Michelle Esteras, Luisa Marshall and baby Shiloh.

From left: Steve Marshall, Brian Esteras, Michelle Esteras, Luisa Marshall and baby Shiloh.

The generous couple then drove the family to their home in Surrey. They also treated them for lunch the following day.

“I’m so thankful to Steve and Luisa for their kindness and generosity,” says Brian.

Michelle later on expressed her gratitude to all the Good Samaritans who stopped by and help them through. She posted in her Facebook account:

“To Steve and Luisa, thank you for everything and even with this disaster, it turned around into meeting amazing and beautiful people like you. You are God sent. May God repay you for all that you have done for us and so much more,” she said.

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MetroVan Independent News Team

The MetroVan Independent News team is a group of talented individuals uniting to serve their community through the power of words. They strive for accuracy, fairness, transparency and accountability aiming to engage, inform and entertain their readers. The team's secret weapon is courage and integrity... with a hint of adobo.

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