Ambulance worker killed while responding to call had returned from retirement

Luke Powell, PA
·4-min read

An ambulance technician who died after an object pierced his vehicle’s windscreen had returned to the front line after retiring in 2020, his colleague said.

Jeremy Daw, known to friends as Jack, died on Saturday morning when his ambulance was struck by an object as he responded to a 999 call in Herefordshire.

The 66-year-old, who was in the front passenger seat at the time, had only returned to the West Midlands Ambulance Service in January this year, having retired as a paramedic in November 2020.

Mr Daw, described as a “remarkable character” and “one of life’s good guys”, died at the scene while his paramedic crewmate – who was driving the vehicle – was also injured.

West Mercia Police said they were “satisfied” that the incident was not the result of a “deliberate act”.

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.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service emergency operations delivery director Nathan Hudson said Mr Daw’s death was the result of a “tragic accident” and was not believed to be “malicious”.

He said the ambulance was responding to a 999 “category two” call shortly before 8am when it was struck by an object near the junction of Moreton Road and the A49, north of Hereford.

Mr Hudson described Mr Daw, who had 29 years experience with the ambulance service and was from Hereford, as a “remarkable character”.

“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 Hudson said Mr Daw was eight shifts away from retirement full-time, having returned “to support the trust during the pandemic” at the start of 2021.

West Mercia Police said the ambulance was travelling towards Leominster at the time of the incident.

Mr Hudson said: “About a minute after 8am we had a 999 call saying crew had been involved in an incident, whereby an object of some description had gone through and pierced the windscreen and one of the crew members were unconscious.

“The driver of the vehicle, who was also injured, was able to get out and try and help and support Jack, who was unconscious, and started life-saving treatment to try and resuscitate him.”

Mr Hudson said Mr Daw’s injuries were “incompatible with life”.

The driver of the ambulance, who had worked with Mr Daw previously, was taken to hospital for treatment but has since been discharged.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Sadly, despite everyone’s best efforts, nothing could be done to save our colleague, who was the front passenger, and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”

The Midlands Air Ambulance, two emergency ambulance crews and paramedic officers attended the incident.

Inspector Chris Watson, from West Mercia Police, said: “We are still thoroughly 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.

“We are continuing to support the victim’s family at this challenging time and would ask that they are given time to grieve and respect their privacy.”

It comes as three South Western Ambulance Service employees were injured on Sunday when a car crashed into their stationary ambulance in Bristol around 4.30am, Avon and Somerset Police said.

West Mercia Police are asking anyone who may have seen the incident or have dashcam footage to contact them on 101 quoting incident 00101i of 24 April.