The 22-year-old, who was also an EMT, died at the scene of the crash.
The Ledger-August 24, 2004
WINTER HAVEN, FL — A 22-year old firefighter and emergency medical technician died Monday when the ambulance he was riding in crashed into a tree off County Road 542, Polk County officials said.Benjamin Matthew Lang, a firefighter with Polk County since 2001, died at the scene of the crash, a Polk County Fire Department official said.Lang was riding in the back of the ambulance and was helping a paramedic as they were taking a patient to Winter Haven Hospital, Polk County sheriff’s officials said. The ambulance had its emergency lights and siren on, but officials said they didn’t know how fast the ambulance was going when it crashed. According to a Sheriff’s Office preliminary investigation, the crash occurred as follows:About 5:25 p.m., the ambulance was heading west on County Road 542, also known as Dundee Road, when the driver lost control near Carl Floyd Road. The roads were slick because of recent rain. The ambulance slid into the grass, overturned and then crashed into a large pine tree with the back of the ambulance facing up. The driver of the ambulance, an EMT, was injured and taken to Winter Haven Hospital. Her condition wasn’t known late Monday. The paramedic riding in the back of the ambulance and the patient were both airlifted to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Their conditions weren’t known late Monday.Emergency officials did not release the names of the county employees and patient Monday night and said they were still contacting their relatives. Lang, who worked out of Polk County Fire Station 8 near Cypress Gardens, was working overtime Monday afternoon.Fire officials didn’t say why the patient in the ambulance was being taken to the hospital.Lang and other members of his fire crew had responded to an emergency call for the patient and Lang was asked to ride in the ambulance to assist the paramedic. Polk County Fire Chief Doug Lewis said that is standard procedure when a patient is in serious condition.”Unfortunately we lost a 22year-old firefighter tonight,” Lewis said at the scene of the crash.Lang has family in Polk County and lived in Winter Haven, the Sheriff’s Office reported. He recently assisted with Hurricane Charley relief efforts. An investigation of the crash is continuing.