MOSSY HEAD — A mother and daughter were reunited last week with the first respondents who saved their lives after a head-on collision last October.
According to Walton County Fire Rescue officials, just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, WCFR crews responded to a traffic crash on Highway 90 West in Mossy Head following a frantic 911 call from witnesses.
WCFR spokeswoman Lindsey Batchelor said a truck that was traveling in the opposite direction swerved over into the opposite lane and struck head-on a car driven by Ivana Fore. Her 8-year-old daughter, Emma, was in the passenger's seat.
When paramedics and EMTs arrived on scene, they found Ivana in severe pain, trapped in the driver’s seat. Emma was unconscious in the passenger’s side of the vehicle.
A witness, Aaron Downing, was holding Emma’s neck still until paramedics arrived to prevent further injuries. A second witness, Dana Downing, talked to Ivana to try to keep her calm until help arrived.
WCFR crews noticed that Emma showed signs of a possible brain injury and worked quickly to get her and her mother out of the vehicle. Paramedics Jasper Carter and Russell Hilligoss tended to Emma in the back of the ambulance as Walton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Leo Cook drove the ambulance to a local hospital.
Ivana was treated by paramedics Ronald Castleberry and David Hatfield for a broken femur, while firefighter-EMT Robin Grandstaff rushed the ambulance to a local hospital.
Last Wednesday, after weeks in the hospital and months of physical therapy, Ivana and Emma visited WCFR Station 11 in Mossy Head and got the chance to thank the EMTs and paramedics who saved their lives.
“It was a difficult situation, seeing a child in that condition, but seeing her now and how far she’s come and how well she’s doing, brings us all overwhelming joy,” said Carter, one of the paramedics who worked on Emma.
During their visit at the station, Ivana and Emma Fore were also reunited with the Downing family, who cared for them and comforted them until first responders arrived.
“This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often,” says Fire Chief Russell Beaty. “Many times, paramedics and EMTs work on patients without ever really knowing what happens to them after they are transported to the hospital. Having the opportunity to reunite with patients who have gone through such a traumatic experience and seeing them happy and healthy is truly a blessing.”