SARASOTA, Fla. — An act of kindness resulted in the death of a good Samaritan this weekend. Wes Weysham Jr. spent his life serving others, and he was doing just that when he was killed.
The retired firefighter-paramedic pulled over on I-75 early Sunday morning to provide aid to a suspected drunk driver after a crash in Hillsborough County. As Weysham worked to pull the driver out of his truck, deputies say a third car swerved and hit the truck, causing it in turn to hit Weysham, ultimately killing him.
The fiery multi-car crash completely shut down a portion of I-75 for hours.
His family remembers him as a beloved Husband, stepfather, grandfather and friend; and his colleagues and friends called him a serviceman who never hung up his hat.
“Wes died a hero. He definitely died a hero," Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier said during a news conference.
The two worked together over Weysham's 10 years at the fire department. The chief was disappointed that after a lifetime of official service, his friend passed while being a good Samaritan.
“You work your whole career waiting for retirement. You do the things that Wes did that night, or that morning, through your whole career. And to have that cut short is just a tragedy that I can't even put words to," Regnier said.
Weysham started his career in the Navy and served actively from 1977 to 1982. Later on, he served for 10 years as a firefighter paramedic for the Sarasota County Fire Department.
Ed McCrane, the emergency management chief for Sarasota County, was struck by his friend's commitment to find ways to help people, even in his retirement.
“Wes was one of our firefighters up until 2017 and then he’s been part of the K-9 search and rescue team, which is a volunteer team. And he was their land navigation instructor, is married to one of the handlers, team leaders. Guy was always dedicated to giving back to the community, searching for the lost -- you know, saved a lot of lives in his career. I guess that’s what he did on his last day," McCrane said.
While his colleagues and friends were devastated about the loss of Weysham, they were not surprised by how he spent his final hours.
“I know that Wes would have stopped again. I know he would have,” Regnier said.
Weysham's family released a statement regarding Wes Weysham Jr.:
"From the family of Wesley Weysham, Jr.:
Wes was a beloved Husband, stepfather, grandfather and friend.
He was patriotic and absolutely loved this country.
Wes served in the United States Navy from 1977-1982, followed by service in the Navy Reserve.
Wes has volunteered with the nonprofit group Sarasota K9 Search & Rescue since 1998, first as a K9 Handler and more recently as a Land Navigation Instructor.
He was a member of the Sarasota County Fire Department from 2007-2017.
As a dedicated first responder, Wes had a high sense of integrity, which drove everything he did.
Known both personally and professionally as a mentor with a huge heart, he could also be silly and loved cracking jokes. Wes was all about community and making sure everyone was OK. He would give the shirt off his back and go out of his way to help others, even if that meant being the first one in to face danger.
Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of support at this unimaginable time of grief."
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