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Deadly snowmobile accident inspires Williams Lake widow to call for better ramp safety

Shanelle Pierce said her husband was fatally injured loading his snowmobile

Shanelle Pierce is taking a devastating tragedy and turning it into action to try and save lives after her husband died from a “totally 100 per cent preventable” snowmobile incident, she said.

On Feb. 26, as her husband Trevor Lee Shine Pierce attempted to load a snowmobile using a ramp, she said the ramp fell down, then came back up and hit him in the head “like stepping on a rake effect.”

While he was not wearing a helmet at the time, she said the injury would have caused so much pressure, a helmet would not have saved him.

She said her cousin administered CPR and her son held pressure on her husband’s head until an ambulance arrived, but at the hospital, she was told he would not survive his injuries.

The family took Trevor to Kamloops for a second opinion, but ultimately, on Feb. 28, the trauma team in Kamloops confirmed this diagnosis and told Shanelle her husband was brain dead.

She said both her cousin and her son Owen were heroes for providing first aid while they waited about 20 minutes for the ambulance, helping preserve viability of the organs for donation.

On March 3, Trevor’s heart, liver, two kidneys, and pancreas went to different recipients and the lenses of his eyes were able to help provide sight to eight different people, each individual eye giving sight to four people.

Shanelle said the doctors told her Trevor’s heart and kidneys were rare matches and were like “winning the lottery” for those people awaiting organs.

Shanelle is taking consolation in knowing her husband, whom she said “would run into a burning building for anybody” could help others through the power of organ donation and wants to spread awareness of the impact organ donation.

“That brings me a little bit of joy in the darkness we are going through and I just have to hold onto that and fight the good fight.”

She described a powerful scene in the hospital, as all the nurses available lined the hospital hallway to honour her husband in what is called the “hero’s walk” as he was wheeled to the operating room for organ donation.

“It was very touching.”

But she is not stopping at organ donation, Shanelle also wants to warn others using loading ramps to check their ramps have safety mechanisms (known as “safety dogs”) to prevent levering, or to tie down ramps before riding onto one.

She is also planning to advocate for changes to safety requirements for the ramps, and said they should have lifetime guarantees and manufacturers should replace them if they break off, as many do over time and ramps can be resold without purchasers even knowing something is missing.

Shanelle said since she has been sharing her husband’s story, she has been contacted by other people who have had similar accidents and has even heard of another deadly incident like Trevor’s.

While she had worried about avalanches and other dangers associated with the high-speed sport, she never thought being at home loading a sled could take his life at just 33 years old.

Shanelle said Trevor “lived for the adrenaline rush” and lived life to the fullest.

“He was just so generous, kind, loving and he is just irreplaceable.”

Trevor leaves behind four children, one from a previous relationship, Brycen, who lives in Kamloops, twins Owen and Olivia, eight years old, and Braelynn, who is four. Shanelle, who was born and raised in Williams Lake, met Trevor in 2009 and the couple had planned to celebrate their seventh anniversary March 10 on a trip to Mexico.

Shanelle said this is just the beginning of her campaign and she will continue to advocate to bring awareness to the safety hazards posed by unsecure ramps and the importance of organ donation. She has already sent warning letters to snowmobile clubs and other media.

Trevor was a member of the Williams Lake Powder Kings and the group will be honouring him as part of an annual ride to Yank’s Peak Saturday, March 11.

Saturday, March 18 there will be a trucker parade to honour Trevor, who was a professional truck driver. Trucks will be lining up at 11:30 a.m. at the Stampede Grounds and a celebration of life at the Overland Convention Centre will then follow, with doors opening at 2 p.m.

Shanelle’s cousin Shannon Fisher has organized a Go Fund Me to help the family and had raised $14,317 of a $25,000 goal as of publication.

Read more: Cariboo Chilcotin community raises $80,000-plus for family of father killed in snowmobile crash

Read more: 233 people – living and dead – donated organs in B.C. in 2022

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

I moved back to my hometown of Williams Lake after living away and joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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