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‘Above and beyond:’ Colleagues praise first responders for rescue efforts in Kodak Center crash

todayJanuary 4, 2024 2

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – One paramedic remains in the hospital and one EMT has been released following the deadly crash outside the Kodak Center in Rochester on New Year’s Day.

The crash happened as hundreds of concertgoers were leaving the venue after a performance by the band ‘moe.’

According to investigators, 35-year-old Michael Avery of Syracuse drove a rented SUV full of gasoline canisters to West Ridge Road, crossed into oncoming traffic, and appeared to speed toward pedestrians when he hit a rideshare car instead.

The passengers in that rideshare, 28-year-old Justina Hughes and 29-year-old Joshua Orr, were killed. The driver and at least nine pedestrians were injured. Avery died at the hospital the following day.

Julie Purick, a critical care paramedic, and her partner, Davin Eshelman, an EMT, were among the first on scene on behalf of AMR Rochester.

As the team arrived, they immediately began rendering aid to patients and also tried to rescue a person suffering serious injuries near the flames.

Both Purick and Eshelman sustained injuries from gas and smoke inhalation. Eshelman was discharged, and Purick remains in the hospital on a ventilator.

News 8 spoke to their colleagues Thursday, who are commending them for their heroic efforts.

Pamela Romano works overnights as an EMT for AMR. She had the night of New Year’s Eve off, but was on standby, ready to take the call.

“The boots are there. The uniform is always at the ready in case anything happens. There were calls from coworkers and everybody was checking on everybody,” said Romano.

Purick and Eshelman are acknowledged by their teammates as among the best on the job.

“They’re very hardworking. They’ve been partners for a while now,” said Romano. “[NK] ‘When you learned it was them who jumped in, were you surprised?’ ‘Not at all. They’ll go above and beyond to do what they have to do,'” said Romano.

Collin Van Laeken represents the union for AMR Rochester, and says in the last few years, they’ve focused on enhancing mental health supports for their crews. Van Laeken says it extends beyond the physical aspects of the work.

“There’s an environment where people can be a little more open on how they deal with these types of things, that allow people to discuss and debrief events like this in a more effective manner than we’ve historically been able to do so,” said Van Laeken.

“When something happens like this, everything is put aside. Everyone is there for each other. We come together and support each other,” said Romano.

Since the crash, AMR Rochester has developed a new peer support group for its employees to offer resources at a moment’s notice.

Meanwhile, officials say Purick is said to be making progress in her recovery at Strong Memorial Hospital.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – One paramedic remains in the hospital and one EMT has been released following the deadly crash outside the Kodak Center in Rochester on New Year’s Day.

The crash happened as hundreds of concertgoers were leaving the venue after a performance by the band ‘moe.’

According to investigators, 35-year-old Michael Avery of Syracuse drove a rented SUV full of gasoline canisters to West Ridge Road, crossed into oncoming traffic, and appeared to speed toward pedestrians when he hit a rideshare car instead.

The passengers in that rideshare, 28-year-old Justina Hughes and 29-year-old Joshua Orr, were killed. The driver and at least nine pedestrians were injured. Avery died at the hospital the following day.

Julie Purick, a critical care paramedic, and her partner, Davin Eshelman, an EMT, were among the first on scene on behalf of AMR Rochester.

As the team arrived, they immediately began rendering aid to patients and also tried to rescue a person suffering serious injuries near the flames.

Both Purick and Eshelman sustained injuries from gas and smoke inhalation. Eshelman was discharged, and Purick remains in the hospital on a ventilator.

News 8 spoke to their colleagues Thursday, who are commending them for their heroic efforts.

Pamela Romano works overnights as an EMT for AMR. She had the night of New Year’s Eve off, but was on standby, ready to take the call.

“The boots are there. The uniform is always at the ready in case anything happens. There were calls from coworkers and everybody was checking on everybody,” said Romano.

Purick and Eshelman are acknowledged by their teammates as among the best on the job.

“They’re very hardworking. They’ve been partners for a while now,” said Romano. “[NK] ‘When you learned it was them who jumped in, were you surprised?’ ‘Not at all. They’ll go above and beyond to do what they have to do,'” said Romano.

Collin Van Laeken represents the union for AMR Rochester, and says in the last few years, they’ve focused on enhancing mental health supports for their crews. Van Laeken says it extends beyond the physical aspects of the work.

“There’s an environment where people can be a little more open on how they deal with these types of things, that allow people to discuss and debrief events like this in a more effective manner than we’ve historically been able to do so,” said Van Laeken.

“When something happens like this, everything is put aside. Everyone is there for each other. We come together and support each other,” said Romano.

Since the crash, AMR Rochester has developed a new peer support group for its employees to offer resources at a moment’s notice.

Meanwhile, officials say Purick is said to be making progress in her recovery at Strong Memorial Hospital. Read More Top StoriesRochesterFirst  

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