Had a man suspected of a car theft not been found, Saskatchewan RCMP said he would have died of exposure to the elements in the woods last week.
A stolen vehicle was stopped by police on Highway 797 near Onion Lake Cree Nation on the evening of Dec. 3.
The driver exited the car and ran north into a snow-covered field as three other occupants were arrested.
North Battleford RCMP Cpl. Colin Pyne and his partner, a police dog named Soap, joined Onion Lake RCMP Const. Michael Page in the search for the suspect. They spent hours following fresh foot tracks, walking over 12 kilometres through snow-covered fields and thick bushes finally locating the man.
He was found in the middle of the woods, north of Highway 797 and west of Boundary Road. RCMP said the man was lightly dressed and it was -8 Celsius at the time.
While escorting him, police said the man collapsed, face-first in the snow. The officers picked him up, zipped up his jacket, and coached him on their walk back to the highway.
The man was placed in the back of a police vehicle, where officers removed his wet, snow-covered jacket and gave him an emergency blanket while waiting for Onion Lake EMS to arrive.
In the ambulance, the man was treated for low blood sugar and hypothermia.
Paramedics estimated he was five to 10 minutes away from going into a diabetic coma.
RCMP said he is facing various charges.