Small community stunned by ambulance crew deaths

SAND HILL, Miss. (WALA) – UPDATE: JUNE 27 2:50 p.m.: The paramedics who died while responding to a medical call have been identified as Alan Smith and Dennis Rushing.

People in the small community of Sand Hill in Mississippi are still reeling from the deaths of two ambulance workers in a fiery crash Tuesday, June 24.

Authorities had still not released the names Wednesday of the two paramedics Wednesday,  but, people in the small community where the crew was stationed are mourning the deaths of the two men they knew very well.

The ASAP ambulance crew on duty Wednesday at the Sandhill Station wouldn’t go on camera, but they told Fox Ten News reporter Renee Dials they were still hurting over the deaths of two paramedics killed the day before.

Less than a quarter mile down the road at the local grocery, owner Delane Burnham said everyone is still talking about the tragedy. Burham said the men were in the store almost every day.

“A couple of hours before they come by and blowed the horn. They knew everybody around here, and everybody knew them,” Burnham said.

Just a few hours later Burnham said word reached the store about the fiery wreck.

“Then the next thing we know, Mr. Vince which is the supervisor across the road came in said they needed help up there bad. It was a bad wreck,” he said.

Mississippi Highway Patrol investigators tell Fox Ten News the crew was northbound on 63 responding to an emergency call. The ambulance had just passed an 18 wheeler on the two lane highway, when a second semi turned left into its path. The ambulance burst into flames on impact. According to Officer Brent Barfield the ambulance had its flashing lights on, but not the siren.

Burnham like many other people in the small community is just trying to come to grips with the tragedy.

“I was in shock. It was a total devestation. These two men come in here all the time. They were friends of ours, and they run every time someone calls, and when they was in need of help nobody could help them. It was really sad,” Burnham said.

The driver of the semi, 47 year old Charles Bexley was treated for minor injuries.

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