Wesley Weysham, a retired firefighter and paramedic who died while giving medical attention to a crash victim on Interstate 75, was remembered by his former boss at Sarasota County Fire Department on Monday.
During a news conference at Fire Station 16, county Fire Chief Michael Regnier said Weysham, 59, "had public service running through his veins."
In addition to his tenure with Sarasota County from 2007 to 2017, Weysham was a Navy veteran and a volunteer with Sarasota K-9 Search and Rescue. Weysham's bloodhounds helped in the search for 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, whose abduction was captured on surveillance video in the days before her body was found during February 2004.
The impulse that led Weysham to a lifetime of public service was the same one that put him on the side of southbound I-75 early Sunday morning, Regnier said.
Weysham stopped near mile marker 254 at the scene of a collision between a Toyota truck and a Buick sedan, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins.
Weysham pulled 32-year-old George Evans out of the truck and onto the left shoulder of the road. Evans had been driving impaired, the Highway Patrol said. As Weysham treated Evans, a Toyota sedan driven by 24-year-old Samuel Flores crashed into Evans' truck, the Highway Patrol said.
The vehicle spun, hit Weysham and burst into flames. Weysham was killed at the scene.
Charges in the incident are still pending, and investigators are still looking into the crash, Gaskins said Monday.
At the news conference, Regnier read a brief statement from Weysham's family, who called the man a "beloved husband, stepfather, grandfather, brother uncle and friend."
Weysham was serious about public service, and about his love for America, but he also loved to joke around, his family said.
Weysham's family is still ironing out the details of his funeral service, Regnier said. But the family has said that mourners are encouraged to donate to Sarasota K-9 Search and Rescue.
As for Weysham's fateful decision to stop at the scene of the crash?
"I know that Wes would have stopped again," Regnier said. "I know he would have."
Contact Kirby Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8793. Follow @kirbywtweets.