A Hattiesburg paramedic responding to an accident on Mississippi 13 Monday found the car involved was that of his wife who was killed in the collision. Kent Crider, a paramedic for AAA Ambulance Service, said his wife, Lynda Crider, 49, had just called him on a cell phone to tell him something was wrong with her car.
"She called me and said 'Hi honey, a warning light just came on in the car' and I asked her where she was and she told me she was on Highway 13 approaching Carnes," Kent Crider said Monday night. "My partner and I were headed toward Wiggins and we were close to her location so I told her that I would meet her, but the phone went dead."
Because Kent Crider was in a rural area, he thought the signal had failed.
Five minutes later, he and his partner were dispatched to an accident with injuries on Mississippi 13 at Carnes Road.
"When they dispatched the location, I thought it was possible, but I said a little prayer, hoping with all my might that it wasn't her," he said.
He and his partner saw an overturned vehicle when they got to the wreck, but he didn't recognize the battered 2003 Kia Rio. The driver had been thrown from the car.
Kent Crider said he knew the victim was his wife when he spotted someone lying in the woods clad in a pink hospital uniform.
"It was her. I recognized her work uniform right away," he said, sobbing. "She was dead."
Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Seals said in his report that Lynda Crider most likely ran off the highway, then oversteered to get back on the pavement.
Kent and Lynda Crider had been married four years. They met over the Internet about six years ago.
"Not a lot of people know that about us," he said. "She was working at Hancock Medical Center and I was working as a paramedic in Purvis and we met on the Internet."
Kent Crider's first wife died at 32 when their children were still very young.
"Lynda was their stepmother, but she was really the only mother they'd known," said Kent Crider of his two children, Justin, 14, and Nikki, 12.
Kent Crider said he always feared that one day he would pull up on an accident and it would be a loved one.
"It was a recurring nightmare," he said.
Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict said Lynda Crider died of multiple internal injuries. The accident occurred shortly after 3 p.m.
"When I found out that the victim was the wife of the paramedic who was sent to the call, my heart went out to him," Benedict said. "Working in this field, you see death all the time and it's a constant fear that you will one day go to a scene and it will be a family member or friend. It makes this job that much tougher."
Lynda Crider was the mother of two daughters, Lisa Staggs and Amanda Williams, and a son, James Walley.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Thursday at White Funeral Home in Lumberton.
The funeral will be at 1 p.m. at Little Black Creek Baptist Church in Lumberton. Burial will be in Crystal Springs.