MedStar paramedics rescue car wreck victims
Sherita Wells’ daughter celebrated her 19th birthday one week before she and her unborn baby died.
Wells’ daughter, Jade Gilliam, was seven months pregnant and looking forward to motherhood, according to Wells. The baby’s father, Bobby Warner, was driving Wednesday when the fatal collision occurred, Wells said.
Warner was conscious, needing rehabilitation and asking for Jade Gilliam on Monday, Wells said. An official with John Peter Smith Hospital reported Warner’s condition as stable.
The small sedan Gilliam had recently purchased was eastbound on Interstate 20 about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday traveling toward the Interstate 35W entrance ramp just before the wreck occurred, according to police.
Police said the sedan’s driver made an unsafe lane change, crossed the solid white line of the Interstate 35W entrance ramp and collided with a pickup.
“Her brain was bleeding, her liver was bleeding, her aorta was severed, her legs were broken, it just seemed that everything on my daughter’s body was broken,” Wells said.
Baby girl Gilliam — Wells said the family named her Brielle — was pronounced dead at 11:35 p.m. Wednesday at John Peter Smith Hospital, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s website showed. A ruling on the infant’s death is pending an autopsy.
Jade Gilliam, of Fort Worth, was pronounced dead about 10:25 p.m. Thursday at John Peter Smith Hospital, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
The hospital chaplain called Jade’s grandmother’s phone, because Jade’s phone “disintegrated” during the wreck, Wells said.
“I was just getting up for work the night he called,” Wells said. “I’m so glad I was not at work because I’m a local truck driver. I can’t go to work for a while due to this event. I just can’t get on the road right now driving 18-wheelers.”
Wells said she wanted to speak with the two paramedics who helped pull her unconscious daughter from the burning car.
“It seems to me they had to make several life-and-death decisions within a matter of seconds,” Wells said. “I just want to thank them for their efforts.”
Wells has been contacted and a meeting with the paramedics is being scheduled, a MedStar official said.
Gilliam was in the passenger seat when two paramedics headed toward a staging area — a predetermined area where paramedics wait for calls — saw the wreck, according to authorities.
“The wreck had just happened,” said Ryan Bader, one of the paramedics who gave aid to Gilliam after the wreck. “Cars were pulling over and people were getting out. It pretty much shut down the freeway.”
Bader grabbed a fire extinguisher out of the ambulance to reduce the flames enough so they could begin freeing Gilliam and Warner, both unconscious, from their car.
While Bader was trying to put out the flames, a passing motorist helped the other driver out of his truck, which was leaking gasoline, Bader said. During the wreck the truck had intruded into the sedan’s passenger compartment, Bader said.
As the flames approached, a passing motorist — the paramedics said they are not sure who — dragged Warner to safety next to the ambulance. Then the other paramedic, Miguel Brito, said he could not open the passenger side door of the sedan, where Gilliam’s legs were trapped beneath the dashboard.
“We were afraid we would be watching while a patient burned alive,” Brito said.
Another passing driver helped lift Gilliam’s legs while Brito dragged her out of the driver’s side door. Once they were out of harm’s way, the paramedics treated Gilliam and Warner while they waited for additional resources to arrive, Brito said.
The couple were taken to John Peter Smith Hospital, and a third patient with minor injuries, the truck driver, was taken to an area trauma center, according to authorities.
Funeral arrangements for Gilliam and baby Brielle are pending, Wells said. The family anticipates burying the mother and unborn child during a shared ceremony, Wells said.
Friends of the family have established a GoFundMe page to defray medical and funeral expenses.