Two emergency medical technicians and an ambulance patient are dead after colliding with a semitrailer on Highway 32, about 180 miles south of Atlanta Thursday.
The crash happened at around 5 a.m. Thursday morning near the small town of Ocilla, Ga., authorities said, killing the two EMTs and one patient onboard. According to a news release from the Georgia State Patrol, the ambulance had its siren and lights on before the crash.
Authorities said the Coffee County ambulance was heading east when the westbound semitrailer jack-knifed across the median after a car in front of it pulled off the road. The semi went right into the path of the ambulance, causing the wreck.
The State Patrol has identified the patient as Charles Arvin Smith, 65, of Tifton, Ga., and the medics were identified as Teresa Ann Davis, 44, of Axson, and Randall Whiddon, 56, of Ashburn.
Whiddon’s son, Ben, said his father retired as Turner County EMS director and fire chief in April 2012, and had been working part-time as an EMT in Coffee and Irwin counties since then. He was a 35-year veteran of the field, according to the Associated Press.
“He was very outgoing, very people-oriented. He gave back to his community as a director,” Whiddon told AP. “Every death in Turner County — if he knew you or not — he came to pay his respects in uniform.”
Atlanta and parts of Georgia experienced heavy thunderstorms early Thursday morning, though it was not immediately clear if the rain was a factor in the crash.
The State Patrol identified the semi driver as Rockwell Lott of Tifton. It wasn’t immediately known if he was hurt.