Sadly the COVID-19 critical illnesses and deaths continue to rip through members of our service. Our condolences to all those affected.
Mannington Fire Chief Jimmy Moran has died after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia.Chief Moran was diagnosed with pneumonia on top of COVID-19 on January 4, and was in the ICU at Ruby Memorial Hospital. At this time no date has been set for services, but the fire department said that they are planning to hold a fireman’s funeral. Mannington is south of Morgantown, in Marion County.
Millgrove (Erie County, New York) Firefighter and EMS Lieutenant Rebecca Eleczko died suddenly due to COVID-19. She is survived by her companion Cody Thomason, her parents, siblings, grandparents, other family and many friends.
San Benito Fire Chief Danny Watkins died Tuesday due to COVID-19 complications. Chief
Watkins had been battling the coronavirus since December. A Bellville, Texas native, Watkins was hired as San Benito’s fire chief in August 2019. Watkins is survived by his wife, Debbie, and two adult sons.
A Firefighter from the Swepsonville Fire Department in Alamance County died due to COVID-19. Larry Lasley died Saturday morning at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill. According to the announcement, Lasley started his volunteer career with the Swepsonville Fire Department in January 1977 and has served the citizens of Swepsonville and 54 East Fire Departments for 44 years.
SENTENCING IN THE LODD OF LT BRAD CLARK WHO WAS STRUCK & KILLED
Lester LaBarge will spend two years behind bars for the crash that killed Hanover Fire Lt. Brad Clark in 2018. LaBarge hit the back of the stopped apparatus, injuring multiple firefighters, on Interstate 295 back in October 2018.
Lt. Clark died at the scene and three other Firefighters were injured. In court on yesterday, LaBarge was sentenced to 10 years with 8 years suspended for involuntary manslaughter and 12 months with 12 months suspended for reckless driving.
Clark’s wife, Melanie, gave a very emotional impact statement during the sentencing. Melanie says the last conversation she had with her husband was over the phone and during that conversation, Clark got the call to respond to the single-car crash. The last thing he said to her was that he loved her and she said “I love you and be careful.”
Melanie says family members later called her asking if she heard from Brad. Then she saw a post on Facebook asking for prayers for Station 6. She says she knew it was Brad because she “felt it.” She immediately drove to Station 6 where she learned that her husband had passed.
Fighting through tears as she spoke on Wednesday, she told LaBarge “I extend forgiveness to you.”
Clark’s father, retired Chief Robert Clark, said he worked on his victim statement for two years because he wanted to send a message but not be cruel to the driver. “My son was amazing,” Clark said. “I was a Firefighter for 30 years with Henrico and I was very excited that he decided to choose the same career as I did, but he did it a lot better than dad.” Chief Clark added he is relieved the process is over and didn’t expect the driver to get a long sentence.
“I think it will have an effect on other drivers that happen to drive trucks, hopefully it’s a wake up call for them,” Robert said. “But him serving time in jail doesn’t help our situation a whole lot, but I do feel very relieved that it’s finalized.”
LaBarge passed up the opportunity to address the court. His attorney said LaBarge had a lot to say but was not confident he could say it well. “I’m disappointed, but everyone has their limitations and I’m not gonna pass judgement on him,” Robert said. The defense team plans to appeal LaBarge’s sentence. Another hearing will take place on Dec. 28 at 11 a.m. to order the appeal and discuss a new bond.
Take Care. be Careful. Pass It On.
The Secret List 1/14/2020-0932 hours