UPDATE: Crash claims life of paramedic



McDonald also served as city police dispatcher

A Bellefontaine Police Department dispatcher died Saturday night in a two-vehicle crash involving an ambulance at state routes 273 and 292 in Hardin County.

Krista McDonald, who was a volunteer paramedic with the Southeast Hardin Ambulance District, was pronounced dead at the scene, Hardin County Sheriff’s deputies report.

The ambulance was southbound on S.R. 292 about 9:30 p.m. when it was hit by a westbound car operated by Rachael Willeke of Belle Center who failed to yield from a stop sign, according to Hardin County Sheriff Keith Everhart. The impact forced the ambulance onto its side.

McDonald and her squad partner Peggy Eastman were ejected from the squad. Eastman was flown by medical helicopter to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Alexander Young, a passenger in the car was flown to OSU, while Willeke and a child were taken by squad to Lima Memorial Hospital.

Both Eastman and Young sustained life-threatening injuries.

KT fatal pics

This combination photo provided by the Kenton Times shows the Southeast Hardin District ambulance, top, and other vehicle involved in a crash Saturday night that took the life of Bellefontaine Police Department dispatcher Krista McDonald, and injured several others. McDonald was volunteering as a paramedic with the squad at the time of the crash.

At the time of the crash, the Southeast Hardin District ambulance was returning to its base in Ridgeway after responding to an earlier, separate buggy-vehicle crash around 7:20 p.m. on S.R. 292,

The buggy was hit from behind by a car operated by Eric Wood of Kenton.

The buggy occupants, Amis Yoder and his wife, Katie, were flown to St. Rita’s Hospital in Lima. Their three children were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The Yoders are in critical, but stable condition, according to the sheriff’s office.

Both crashes remain under investigation. Investigators do not believe alcohol nor drugs were contributing factors in the crashes.

Sheriff Everhart believes driver inattention was the main factor.

In a statement, Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley said, “The Bellefontaine Police Department suffered a tragic loss tonight. Krista McDonald, a long-time dispatcher for our agency was killed when the ambulance she was riding in collided with another vehicle in Hardin County.

“Dispatcher McDonald volunteered for years as a paramedic and enjoyed her time helping others. Krista was an extremely talented, hard-working and dedicated public servant who gave her life doing what she loved to do. 

“Krista will be sadly missed by her BPD family. The members of our agency send our condolences to Krista’s family and friends through this difficult time.”

McDonald also worked part-time as a dispatcher for the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office.