Ambulance worker, 66, was killed when a rock ‘was flung up from the tyres of a passing lorry’ in ‘tragic accident’ as he was racing to 999 call, his family say
- Jeremy Daw was sat in the passenger seat of an ambulance when an object pierced through his windscreen
- The 66-year-old had returned to the front line to battle the coronavirus pandemic after retiring last year
- The emergency worker who has been hailed as a ‘hero’ died responding to a 999 call on A49 near Hereford
A paramedic who interrupted his retirement to help colleagues battle through the pandemic died in a freak accident when an ‘object’ – thought to be a large rock – smashed through the windscreen of his ambulance.
Jeremy Daw, 66, was in the passenger seat on his first 999 callout of the day on Saturday when the object went through the glass as the vehicle approached a junction.
The grandfather, who was nicknamed Jack, retired in November after almost 30 years’ service as a paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).
He returned in January to work as a technician supporting colleagues and was only eight shifts away from retiring for the second time when he died.
Yesterday two of his three children, Richard, 39, and Kate, 42, described Mr Daw as their ‘hero’ on Facebook, while colleagues also paid tribute to the keen metal detectorist, who once unearthed a hoard of 518 Roman coins and helped on the production of Channel 4’s Time Team programmes.
Police at the scene yesterday were observed moving a large rock from the bonnet of a police car and placing it at the rear of the vehicle, while a large hole was visible in the middle of the passenger side of the ambulance windscreen.
His daughter, Kate told The Sun: ‘It was a freak of nature and there is some comfort and relief that it wasn’t a deliberate act.
‘We have asked so many questions and, although there is an ongoing investigation, we are quite satisfied, for now, that nobody is to blame.
‘There are marks on the road at the scene where the wheels of the lorry with a stone wedged in-between had turned. We know there was not an unsecured load on the lorry — it was a tragic accident.’
Jeremy Daw (pictured left and right), 66, also known as Jack, who had returned to the front line after retiring last year, was sitting in the passenger seat of the ambulance when the object shot through the windscreen
Pictured: One of the rocks that is believed to have flown off the back of the lorry during the fatal accident on Saturday morning
Mr Daw, who had been hailed a ‘true hero’, died following the incident on the A49 near the village of Morton on Lugg near Hereford
Pictured: One of the rocks that is believed to have come off the same lorry that was heading towards the nearby quarry
Mr Daw’s brother Philip, told The Sun: ‘It was a freak accident, an absolute tragedy. Initially our worry was that someone had thrown something through the windscreen but this has been discounted.
‘There was a lorry full of stones and it appears a stone was flicked up but at this stage no one is sure. It is still being investigated.’
Another source said: ‘He came out of retirement and supported his colleagues during the second wave. He wanted to be back on the front line helping his colleagues.’
Police at the scene were observed moving a large rock from the bonnet of a police car and placing it at the rear of the vehicle, while a large hole was visible in the middle of the passenger side of the ambulance windscreen.
Nathan Hudson, operations delivery director at WMAS, said: ‘We are still liaising with police but at this stage it appears to have been a tragic accident, where something has come through the windscreen, rather than being thrown at the vehicle with malicious intent.
‘Jeremy was a mentor to many staff members over his years with us. He retired last year but returned to duty to help with the Covid response. He was due to retire again within the next month.’
West Mercia Police have appealed for drivers who were in the area to supply dash-cam footage. Inspector Chris Watson said: ‘We are still investigating this incident and although at an early stage, we are satisfied that this was not a deliberate act, despite some speculation on social media.’
The incident happened on the A49 near the village of Moreton on Lugg near Hereford. Mr Daw, who also worked on the air ambulance during his career, died at the scene.
His colleague, who was driving the 999 vehicle, was also injured in the incident. He was released from hospital after receiving treatment.
Emergency medical technicians can operate as a single responder to an incident or support a paramedic on a double-crewed ambulance. Although they provide many of the same skills as paramedics, such as being able to assess patients and provide lifesaving treatment, they do not share the same level of responsibilities.
Mr Daw lived in Credenhill, Herefordshire, with wife Dawn, 64, the deputy manager of a support centre for families of those suffering with dementia.
He was a keen metal detectorist who has helped on the production of several of Channel 4’s Time Team programmes in and around Herefordshire, as well as assisting in local archaeological excavations.
In 2010 Mr Daw and paramedic colleague Martin Fulloway, 49, discovered a cache of Roman coins buried at a time when the Roman Empire was being broken up into several smaller empires. A coroner later declared the find on a farm outside Leominster, Herefordshire, as treasure.
Mr Fulloway, of Leominster, was too upset to comment yesterday, but in a post on Facebook he wrote: ‘I am absolutely devastated at the news today, I cannot believe what has happened.
‘I have lost a good buddy and the world has lost a great man. I just cannot find the words.’
Relative Dave Daw said: ‘As they say, not all super-heroes wear capes, some wear a green uniform and they are called paramedics, some are even called family.’
Describing Mr Daw as a ‘great man’ who will be ‘sorely missed’ by the family, he added: ‘There are no words at the moment, just an ache and a lot of tears’.
The wife of another Herefordshire paramedic described the tragedy as an ‘awful freak accident’. NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said Mr Daw ‘represented the best’ of the health service.
‘On behalf of everyone across the NHS, our heartfelt condolences go to Jeremy’s family, friends and colleagues, as we also wish his crewmate a swift recovery,’ he said.
Mr Hudson described Mr Daw, who had 29 years experience with the ambulance service and was from Hereford, as a ‘remarkable character’.
He said: ‘He was one of life’s good guys and he will be sorely missed in and around Hereford. Everybody knew him and he was just a genuinely nice person.
‘If you speak to the staff at Hereford, what they remember is that he used to go out and clean the vehicles every morning, he would wipe the windscreens down. He used to do that as a matter of course. He took great pride in his work.’
Mr Daw had been responding to a 999 ‘category two’ call shortly before 8am when the object pierced through the windscreen near the junction of Moreton Road. Pictured: The ambulance after the object hit the windscreen
West Mercia Police said the ambulance had been travelling towards an emergency in Leominster when the object struck the windscreen
Mr Hudson said Mr Daw, who retired as a paramedic in November 2020, was eight shifts away from full-time retirement, having returned ‘to support the trust during the pandemic’ at the start of 2021.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said Mr Daw ‘represented the best’ of the health service.
He said in a statement: ‘After almost three decades’ service, he returned to the frontline from a well-earned retirement to help patients during the coronavirus pandemic, and served as a mentor to younger colleagues.
‘On behalf of everyone across the NHS, our heartfelt condolences go to Jeremy’s family, friends and colleagues, as we also wish his crewmate a swift recovery.’
Following his death, Mr Daw’s heartbroken relatives and friends paid tribute to the front line worker who ‘was a mentor to a lot of people’ and a ‘true hero’.
The emergency worker’s granddaughter shared a picture on social media of Mr Daw on a train with a dog in his arms alongside a post which read: ‘Not all superheroes wear capes, love you grandad.’
And Mr Daw’s daughter Kate described her father as ‘my hero’ on social media.
Also paying tribute to the front line worker, a friend wrote: ‘I am so sorry to hear your sad news. Your dad was a great man, always had time for everyone and had a big heart. A true hero.’
While another tribute for the key worker read: ‘I’m so very sorry for you and your family at this time. Jack was a hero amongst his colleagues on station and will so very badly missed. RIP Jack, stand down, you’ve given your all in the service of others.’
Another person added: ‘So sorry for your loss I’m absolutely heartbroken for you and your family. He was a true hero.’
Elsewhere one of the ambulance worker’s relatives wrote: ‘As they say, not all super-heroes wear capes, some wear a green uniform and they are called paramedics, some are even called family.
‘You were a great man Jeremy, and will be sorely missed by all your family. Will be raising a glass to you tonight.’
While another person added: ‘What a wonderful man, so sorry I’m thinking of you all.’
Another friend wrote: ‘He was a wonderful man and loved by so many. In our hearts and thoughts.’
In 2004, Mr Daw saved the life of a heart attack victim by administering them with a new blood clot-busting medication.
The healthcare worker, who was given permission to administer the drug by a doctor via email, was able to save the patient as the ambulance raced to the hospital.
West Mercia Police (police pictured at the scene) have launched an investigation into the cause of the incident but do not believe it was foul play
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