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Leadership/Management

Retired Fla. Paramedic Struck, Killed While Helping Crash Victim

Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Wesley Weysham was driving down Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County early Sunday morning when he came upon a familiar scene: chaos.

Two recently crashed cars blocked lanes of the southbound highway—one, a Toyota truck driven by George Evans, 32; the other a Buick sedan driven by 31-year-old Veronica Gonzalez.

Authorities with the Florida Highway Patrol say that Evans, driving while impaired, had inexplicably stopped his truck in the left lane of the highway. Gonzalez didn't see the truck in time and barrelled into it. Both were injured in the crash, Gonzalez seriously so.

Records show that Weysham was a retired firefighter and licensed paramedic. He was a Navy veteran of the Gulf War, his family said. He even made some news a decade and a half ago when his bloodhounds helped in the search for Carlie Brucia, an 11-year-old murder victim.

Weysham was no stranger to emergency situations like the one that greeted him at around 4:40 a.m. near mile marker 254.

He stopped and got out of his car to help Evans, FHP spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins later recounted in a release. Weysham pulled Evans from his truck and began treating him on the shoulder of the highway.
Weysham, 59, had clocked out of his last shift with the Sarasota County fire department in June 2017.

On this night, he was just a "good Samaritan," Gaskins said.

He paid for the good deed with his life.

While the retired firefighter was treating Evans, a 2010 Toyota sedan, driven by 24-year-old Samuel Flores, crashed into Evans' truck. The Tacoma spun, hit Weysham, and burst into flames.

Weysham died at the scene.

Flores, Evans and Gonzalez were all taken to nearby hospitals to have their injuries treated. Gaskins said that charges in the case are pending.

Victoria Day, 37 and of Riverview, and Weysham's estranged daughter, said her father's heroism Sunday was in line with the "community-oriented" man she remembers from her childhood.

And Weysham's social media showed how dedicated the veteran of public service was to the pursuit of happiness.

"Life is good," Weysham commented six years ago on a Facebook photo of himself. "Worth fighting for."
Information from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was used in this report.

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