OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – An EMT was badly injured when he was struck by a vehicle as he was assisting victims in a crash.
The young man remains in critical condition at Osceola Regional Medical Center, where his parents still haven’t been able to see him.
“His left arm is fractured in multiple places. His pelvis is fractured in multiple places. He’s had to have his spleen removed. His bladder was ruptured,” said Jeremy Rice, the EMT’s father.
Rice described some of the injuries his son, Dawson, suffered when he was hit by a car early Sunday morning in Kissimmee.
The 21-year-old was working a shift as an EMT when he stopped to help victims of a crash on Orange Blossom Trail. The crash report says that’s when a car, driven by 35-year-old Alex Shaw, hit Dawson.
“He was in the slow lane, according to the police report, veered over into the median and everyone tried to get out of the way and he was going fast enough to where my son couldn’t get out of the way,” Rice said.
Two days later, Dawson’s parents still haven’t been able to see him. They say the hospital’s COVID-19 restrictions prevent them from visiting.
“How can you tell me that I can’t see my son? But, I mean, that’s where we’re at,” Rice said.
“Just knowing he’s down there at that hospital, all by himself, in the ICU. I could be sitting with him. I cry at night when I go to bed,” said Shannon Rice, Dawson’s mother.
As they pray for their son’s recovery, they’re asking drivers to think of Dawson the next time they see those flashing red and blue lights.
“These people are trying to save your life. Cut them a break. Pay attention. If you see them on the side of the road with their lights lit up, I don’t care if you have to stop, turn around; just do it,” Rice said.
“Get behind the wheel and think of others. You want to arrive safely, but everyone else wants to arrive safely too,” Shannon Rice said.
The driver was cited for careless driving and will appear before a judge.
Dawson’s parents say that’s not enough. They want tougher laws to protect first responders on the road.