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Home > Topics > Vehicle Crashes

Infant survives fatal wreck that's taken toll on N.C. responders

EMS workers have been encouraged to talk about the traumatic collision that killed four, including the baby's mother

By Christopher Thomas
The Daily News

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A weekend wreck that killed four in Jacksonville also took a toll on first responders.

“The question most paramedics get is, ‘What’s the worst call you ever responded to?’,” said Onslow County EMS Division Chief Beth Himes. “It’s difficult to answer because you’re going to remember any patient with a traumatic injury. We always hope for the best and expect the worst.”

Saquan Nelson drove a white Hyundai more than 100 MPH through a red light at the intersection of U.S. 258 and N.C. 53 at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday, according to N.C. Highway Patrol. Nelson struck an SUV carrying Rachel Delisle, 30, of Jacksonville and her infant son – who was the only survivor of the crash. Delisle, Nelson and his two passengers – Darius Williams and Johnathan Cooper — all died.

Sgt. Shannon Whaley of Highway Patrol said Monday it is unknown if any factor other than speed contributed to the wreck. A toxicology report has not yet been released.

“We’re sending our prayers out to the families involved in this incident,” Whaley said. “This took the lives of three young men and the life of a young mother and wife. It’s a sad event for everyone involved.”

According to Himes, Onslow County EMS personnel are encouraged to talk with superiors and colleagues about especially traumatic calls like the one the agency responded to on Saturday afternoon. Himes said it’s a welcomed change from the way things used to be.

“Back in the old days, it was not OK to talk,” Himes said. “You weren’t allowed to tell people how you feel, but we’ve seen a change in that over the past 15 years. People need to have a vent, they need to have a person they know they can talk to.”

Arrangements for Nelson, Williams and Cooper will be made at Dunn Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Burgaw.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Nelson had nine charges pending against him, including two speeding charges, driving while impaired and fleeing to allude arrest with a motor vehicle, according to court documents. Those charges were dropped Monday following his death, according to Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Michele Logue Michele Logue Thursday, February 20, 2014 8:46:07 PM When you work either, Fire, EMS or Law Enforcement and you first start out, you open the pages to a photo album that throughout your career will collect photos of calls, sadly enough the most remembered will be your worse calls. But some will be good to, like delivering a baby. As a CISM team member, all I can say to you is ask for help or a a debriefing so that you can be helped through this horrible call. That camera I talked about will be full of pictures before you are done. Good luck , my brothers and sisters.
Rachel Bishop-Collier Rachel Bishop-Collier Sunday, February 23, 2014 1:40:25 PM I was still in training when I went on my worst call... I was on a ride along with 2 of my instructors when we were called to a car vs child...The child turned out to be 18 mos old... When we got on scene the father came running at us carrying his baby which turned out to be in full cardiac / respiratory arrest... We took her from him and began resuscitation efforts but was all to no avail... She was pronounced shortly after her arrival to the hospital... We learned later that the grandmother unaware that the baby had crawled underneath the family van... had backed over her neck crushing everything inside it... I took the death (my first) very hard and was referred to a counselor for debriefing... I was advised to attend the baby's funeral which I did... After the service the family approached me after recognizing me and thanked me for all that I had done and it helped immensely that along with my instructor's positive review of my performance kept me in EMS... My point? NEVER be too proud to ask for help...
Anne Cochran Anne Cochran Sunday, February 23, 2014 3:52:55 PM I personally thank emt's police and firefighters , they were the first responders when my son was hit by drunk driver and high from parting the night befor. my son is alive and that's all im saying. but ty so much for all you done and the work you do.
Tammy Musgrove Tammy Musgrove Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:27:43 PM Thank you for entrusting your loved one to us, knowing how hard we strive to make a difference, or for caring enough to tell us so. :)
Melinda Jordan Melinda Jordan Monday, February 24, 2014 7:35:01 AM The calls that stick with you add up and they can quickly over take you if you don't have an outlet to let off your emotions. I watched a man burn to death as I tried to get him out of his vehicle. It's is something that will stay with me forever. But, talking about it with counselors is a big help. Part of my area covered the interstate I went on to do body recovery of 4 other victims who had burned in car wrecks Being able to talk to someone really helped, it also helped me to help the other incoming rookies. I was able to spot the one in trouble and talk to some of the others and get them help when needed.

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