LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Florida EMS worker is being credited for going ‘above and beyond’ to help a local teenager and his friend.
Sgt. Samantha Diaz, a paramedic field training officer with Okaloosa County EMS, responded to a crash early Saturday morning in Crestview, Fla. According to an accident report from the Florida Highway Patrol, a woman crossed the double yellow lines and struck a car that was traveling in the opposite direction.
Three Oldham County residents were riding in the car that was hit head-on. Chris Reinert, 50, of Crestwood, died at the scene from traumatic injuries. The father of two had been on a Spring Break trip in Florida with his 18-year-old son, Evan Reinert, and one of his classmates.
The two South Oldham High School students were treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital.
The crash happened close to a shift change at Okaloosa County EMS. Shift Commander Darrel Welborn said, after the scene was cleared, Sgt. Diaz finished her shift then returned to the hospital to check on the two teens.
“She felt the calling to go back,” Welborn said, adding that Diaz stayed with the teens from around 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Student paramedic Austin Turnbill also helped with the teens, Welborn said.
Diaz made sure the boys were fed, stayed in contact with their relatives, and organized a safe way home. Welborn said the nearest airport does not offer direct flights to Louisville so she helped arrange a flight from Destin to Louisville with a private pilot who flew the two teens back to Kentucky in his jet.
“She’s a shining example of a very decent individual, a very decent human being,” said Welborn. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family…and we will forever be thinking about them.”
Neighbors in Crestwood remember Chris Reinert as a dedicated father, kindhearted person, and loyal friend who loved life. One of his favorite sayings was, “We are making memories,” recalled one neighbor.
A spokesperson for Oldham County Schools said teachers and administrators would be doing home visits with Reinert’s son this week and that counselors are available at school to anyone who needs help processing this tragedy.