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Pa. EMT struck by vehicle, thrown nearly 30 yards

Citizens Hose EMT Kelly Jackson suffered numerous injuries after being struck by a vehicle on an icy road


Citizens Hose Co./Facebook

By Kellen Stepler
The Tribune-Review

HARRISON, Pa. — A Citizens Hose EMT is lucky to be alive after being struck by a vehicle and thrown nearly 30 yards while responding to a Harrison road made treacherous by ice and snow Saturday.

Kelly Jackson of Tarentum was clipped by a vehicle as it slid down Burtner Road before striking a guardrail.

She suffered numerous injuries, including a brain bleed, two broken bones in her lower back, several broken ribs, a laceration of her liver, broken teeth, stitches on her forehead and scalp, a problem with her aorta, and several lacerations and contusions on her body, according to Lori Miller, president of the Hilltop Hose Ladies Auxiliary.

“It is truly a miracle that she survived,” Miller said in a GoFundMe she started Monday for Jackson.

Citizens Hose crews were called Saturday to Burtner Road for reports of vehicles getting stuck on the hill leading from the Route 28 exit into the township’s Natrona Heights neighborhood. An ambulance blocking the road was hit by a driver who lost control while coming down the slick road.

Jackson tried to get out of the way but was struck, authorities said. She was taken to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where authorities said she is in stable condition.

The crash was determined to be weather-related, and charges are not expected to be filed at this time, said Allegheny County Police spokesman Jim Madalinsky.

“When you have major trauma, being in stable condition doesn’t mean you don’t have ill effects,” said Jim Erb, Citizens Hose supervisor. “Being stable means it’s not necessarily life-threatening.

“Everyone at Citizens’ thoughts and prayers are with her as she’s determined to heal from this traumatic accident.”

Erb was not at the scene Saturday, but he was alerted immediately about the incident and called to check on his crew.

“I obviously can’t imagine the fear that they had at that moment,” he said.

Jackson is a graduate of the emergency medical technician training hosted by the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation and was among its most recent class.

She has been an EMT with Citizens for about six months.

She graduated from high school in Gulfport, Miss., and first became a paralegal before training as an EMT.

“It is an extremely difficult job they deal with day in and day out,” Miller said. “Every single call they go on, it’s different and poses challenges and problems.”

Burtner Road gets slippery and dangerous during winter weather conditions. The state would typically need to close it, and Harrison police officers at times have closed the road.

“We notify PennDOT when it comes to our attention that it’s icy or covered in snow,” Chief Brian Turack said.

“We have closed the road several times. Officers use their judgment.”

Miller said Jackson loves being an EMT. Since it opened Monday morning, her GoFundMe has raised more than $1,600 of a $10,000 goal.

The GoFundMe aims to help Jackson get her bills paid and ensure that anything she and her family needs is taken care of so she can concentrate on healing, Miller said.

“When stuff like this happens to our first responders, everybody wants to help. That’s why we started (the GoFundMe ), and we figure this will help the family,” she said.

Although Miller is part of a different company than Jackson, everyone comes together to support each other in times of crisis, Miller said.

“When you’re in this special group of people, you feel like you’re brothers and sisters. When another company has something bad happen to them, everyone else rallies around and helps,” she said.

“We’ve got to help the helpers. They’re the ones keeping our townships, our communities, running.”

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