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Retired Sarasota paramedic killed in fiery I-75 crash while assisting driver impaired by alcohol

Interstate 75 Southbound lanes reopen after four hours
Posted at 11:39 AM, Feb 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 11:29:30-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A retired Sarasota paramedic/firefighter was killed early Sunday morning when he stopped to aid an impaired driver involved in an accident, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Wesley Weysham Jr., 59, was driving southbound on I-75 just before 5 a.m. when he stopped to help two motorists involved in an accident. He worked as a paramedic/firefighter for Sarasota County Fire Department, and retired in June 2017, according to officials.

FHP says 31-year-old George Evans was under the influence of alcohol when he stopped his pickup truck in the middle of the road for unknown reasons. His vehicle was hit by 31-year-old Veronica Gonzalez, who FHP says was unable to stop in time.

Gonzalez suffered cuts, bruises, and possibly a broken arm, but she said that does not matter because Weysham tragically lost his life. She did not know him, but said she cannot stop thinking about what he did to save the other driver.

"I just feel really bad, you know, because he was just trying to do a good thing," Gonzalez said.

Weysham got out of his vehicle and was able to remove Evans from his damaged truck. He was providing medical care to Evans on the shoulder of the road when a third vehicle, driven by 24-year-old Samuel Flores, hit Evans's truck.

"I knew once another car hit, I knew somebody was gone," Gonzalez said.

The truck rotated and hit Weysham. He suffered fatal injuries at the scene.

"He didn't have to do all that, but he did just to be a good person," Gonzalez said.

She said she would like to reach out to Weysham's family to give her condolences. Gonzalez said she feels guilty she could not do more, knowing Weysham lost his life.

"It just hurts me to know that like somebody lost their life," Gonzalez said.

FHP says Flores failed to see the initial collision.

Following the final collision, Evans's truck burst into flames and burned completely.

Evans and Flores received minor injuries, according to FHP.

The southbound lanes of I-75 were closed for more than four hours following the string of accidents.

Charges are pending, according to FHP. ABC Action News learned Weysham had been a volunteer K9 handler and instructor with the Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue since the late 90's.