How a 'perfect storm' of events led EMS providers to saving an unconscious driver from a burning vehicle

Paramedic Shea Lathrum and EMT Brandon Busch were returning from an out-of-county transport when they saw a car leave the roadway and catch fire


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"We have a single vehicle MVA that we just witnessed. I don't have much more. We're going to be heading that way."

About an hour before calling this into dispatch, Taney County (Mo.) Ambulance District paramedic Shea Lathrum, who has been in EMS for nine years, and EMT Brandon Busch, a 10-year veteran with the agency, were transporting a patient with a serious head injury to a local hospital.

It had been a normal shift, which was a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of responding to COVID-related calls on previous shifts. It was approaching midnight when the two left the hospital and started their drive back to Branson. Thirty minutes into their drive, they caught a glimpse of a vehicle leaving the roadway.

Lathrum saw the front of the vehicle nose downward into what appeared to be a small ravine, followed by a plume of white smoke. Busch, who had to quickly process what he witnessed, reported the incident over the radio and informed dispatch that they were turning around to help.

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