He had gotten home from school and decided to take a few runs down the snow covered hill next to his family's home on Route 345 in Warwick Township.
At approximately 4:45 p.m. with dusk setting in, things quickly changed. "I heard a cracking sound,' he said, after he had completed a run, "and saw a car flip over and knew someone was in trouble.'
That someone, a woman named Albrey, in her late 20's to early 30's, owes her life to young Ryan, his family and a neighbor. Not only did her compact car flip over and slide through a post and rail fence, but it continued down a 15-foot high embankment, landing in a small creek upside down. "It was the worst of that kind of accident that I've seen on this road in 22 years,' said Norman MacGregor, Ryan's father.
Ryan immediately ran to the house shouting for help, which got the whole family involved in the rescue. Norman came running out of the home to the scene of the accident across the road. Sue DiPaulo, his wife, was mobilizing the family for action, Ashley, 11, a student at Owen J. Roberts Middle School, dialed 911, and, as Sue says, Paige, 4, "kept everybody calm.'
When MacGregor got to the car and up to his thighs in water, he saw that Albrey was in the back seat up to her chest in frigid water and mud. He flagged down a neighbor from up the road, and together with Sue and himself, attempted the rescue.
"She was freaked,' said MacGregor. "All the windows were underwater, as were half the doors.'
Noticing children's toys floating in the water, he and his "rescue team' kept asking the woman if there were any children with her. Fortunately, there were no children passengers.
With all three rescuers working hard in the frigid water and mud to open the door nearest the woman, they finally pushed it open and freed the woman from her vehicle. They took her up the embankment and back to the MacGregor home where they removed her soaked outer clothing and wrapped her in blankets, waiting for emergency help from the Elverson Fire Company and Elverson Ambulance Association to arrive. The Morgantown Volunteer Fire Company and a paramedic unit from Phoenixville Hospital, also assisted at the scene.
The woman, Albrey, was able to walk under her own power to the MacGregor home, and apparently suffered a minor cut to hand and bruised knee. She was taken by the Elverson Ambulance Association to Brandywine Hospital for observation.
"When I think about,' said MacGregor, "it was a scary situation. Think about someone submerged and trapped in cold water, she's lucky we were around.'
Because of the location of the creek at the bottom of a small valley, the point where Albrey left the road is not clearly visible even from the porch of the MacGregor home. MacGregor reported hearing a slight noise at the time of the accident, but didn't think much of it as minor skidouts with cars hitting property fences happen quite often along Route 345 in snowy, slippery weather.
"At dusk, there's nobody around,' he said. "Hypothermia could have done her in and with all that mud holding fast around the car, it would have been difficult for her to get out.'
This was not the first time that MacGregor's kitchen has been turned into a makeshift emergency room. He said that over the years during winter weather, many people who have skipped along Route 345 and flipped over have been taken in by MacGregor to the warmth and shelter of his kitchen waiting for emergency help.
At press time, Tri County Record was still attempting to establish the full identify and condition of the driver of the car.