Dozens of first responders participated in a 77-mile procession on Monday, Nov. 22, from Forney to Tyler to honor fallen EMS worker David Eads, 42, of Frankston who was killed in a crash last week in Hunt County while on duty. A very long line of fire and police vehicles gathered at 10 a.m. in Forney and began the procession to Tyler. Other first responders parked emergency vehicles on the overpasses along the route and raised the American Flag as a symbol of honor.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that according to Kyle Bradford, staff sergeant at the Texas Department of Public Safety, Eads of Frankston, and James Malone, 40, of Tyler, were on duty in an ambulance traveling on U.S. Highway 69, just north of Greenville, when their vehicle hit the trailer of a Peterbilt rock-hauler truck. Eads was pronounced dead on scene and Malone was transported to UT Health Tyler for treatment of his injuries. Malone is currently in stable condition.
Bradford said the call came in at 6:55 p.m. and preliminary investigation shows the rock-hauler truck was backing up across two lanes of traffic on U.S. Highway 69.
As the medical community at UT Health East Texas is mourning the loss of one of their own the public is encouraged to pull over to the far-right shoulder of the highway and turn on their lights to stand in honor as Eads body is transported to Tyler burial.
The route will begin in Forney on US 80 and will continue east to Spur 557 then to Interstate 20, where it will continue east on I-20 all the way to Tyler. Along the route, fire departments from numerous communities will park fire engines, Law Enforcement and ambulances on the overpass bridges with flags raised on the Gateway bridge and Los Lomas bridge.
As the procession passes through each community, observers are asked to pull over on the shoulders of the highway, turn on their headlights and remain still until the procession safely passes to honor this Public Servant.
“We are devastated by the loss of UT Health East Texas EMS Paramedic David Eads. David served others through his skills as a dedicated paramedic for over 24 years, touching countless lives,” said a statement from the medical center.
Eads joined UT Health East Texas EMS in December 2020 and he served the Tyler and Smith County area as a lead paramedic.
“David’s commitment to his profession was profound, as he always sought out more education to provide the best care for his patients,” said the statement from UT Health.
Eads was known as an uplifting person, according to UT Health.
“David was the kind of person that made you feel better simply by being around him,” said John Smith, CEO of UT Health East Texas EMS. “He had a way of making those around him better because of his huge heart for EMS and concern over his patients.”
UT Health East Texas said Eads’ death is a tragic loss and is felt across the entire organization. The unit designation 809 will be retired and removed from service in his honor.