Injured Rockwell firefighter remains in hospital, but condition improves

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 27, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
WINSTON-SALEM — The condition of Rockwell Rural firefighter seriously injured in a wreck while responding to a vehicle-accident call is improving, fire officials said today.
Josh Jacobs, 30, of Rockwell, was on his way Wednesday to a collision on Fisher Road when the tread on his rear tire tore apart. Jacobs lost control of his Ford Explorer.
He tried to maintain control of the vehicle and crashed, overturning the SUV. Jacobs was thrown from the vehicle.
He landed face down along the roadside near the front lawn of a home at 7660 Pop Basinger Road.
The homeowner, Linda Benge, called 911 and said a prayer while emergency vehicles were on the way.
Jacobs was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Rockwell Rural Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Holshouser said this morning Jacobs is stable.
Jacobs has some minor bleeding on the brain that doctors are working to control.
Holshouser said doctors ran tests on the firefighter, who was responsive.
“They did a CT scan this morning and it was good,” Holshouser said.
The firefighter was able to move his limbs.
Jacobs is being sedated. He also has some facial fractures that the doctors say will heal, Holshouser said.
“It will be a slow recovery,” he said.
The fire department is appreciative of the prayers, calls and support they’ve received, Holshouser said.

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By Shavonne Potts
A Rockwell Rural firefighter was seriously injured Wednesday when his vehicle overturned as he was heading to a wreck on Fisher Road.
Josh Jacobs, 30, of Rockwell, was on his way to the accident about 2 miles away when the tire tread of his 1997 Ford Explorer came apart and he lost control of the vehicle on Pop Basinger Road.
Jacobs, a veteran firefighter, ran off the road, tried to maintain control of the vehicle but overturned. He was thrown from the vehicle and came to rest several feet away in a yard at 7660 Pop Basinger Road, near Bella Vista Road. The accident occurred around 3 p.m.
Trooper A.J. Carpenter, who investigated the collision, called it a freak accident.
Carpenter said there were obvious skid marks where Jacobs tried to control the vehicle as the tread on his left rear tire began to separate from the tire.
The firefighter was not wearing a seat belt, Carpenter said.
Linda Benge, who lives at 7660 Pop Basinger Road, had just returned home from picking up her granddaughter, Shelby Benge, 14, from East Rowan High School. Shelby heard what sounded like a gunshot and turned around in time to see the SUV hit a road sign, crash through a grouping of bushes, overturn and come to rest right side up, she said.
Items from Jacobs’ vehicle were strewn about Benge’s yard, including a wooden novelty baseball bat with Jacobs’ name etched into it. Clothing and other items from Jacobs’ vehicle were also scattered about.
The vehicle landed a few feet from Linda Benge’s minivan in her gravel driveway. Benge, who said she has issues with her leg, managed to crouch beside Jacobs and whisper a prayer.
“I said to him, ‘The Lord is with you,’ ” Benge said.
She prayed that Jacobs would be all right, she said.
“I said, ‘Dear God, please come down,’ ” she said, near tears as she sat in a chair in her yard and talked about the accident.
She said she didn’t want to touch or move Jacobs, but she gently grabbed the back of his shirt. He was face down in the grass on the roadside in front of her house.
“His Bible landed right there,” Benge pointed to place in her front yard, a few inches from a small angel statue.
Benge believed Jacobs heard her because he moved his head slightly as she spoke to him.
Kevin Holshouser, assistant fire chief with Rockwell Rural, said Jacobs was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center and then flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Rockwell Rural and Rockwell City Fire departments responded. Rowan Rescue Squad, Rowan EMS and the N.C. Highway Patrol were also at the scene.
Two sisters were injured in the Fisher Road collision the firefighter was on his way to when he crashed. Megan Hammill, 20, of John Miller Road, Rockwell, had left East Rowan High, where she picked up her sister, Lindsey, 16.
Driving a 2002 Ford Mustang, Megan was traveling south in the 8400 block of Fisher Road when she ran off the road to right, said N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper C.F. Rogers.
She over-corrected, crossed the center lane, ran off the road to the left and struck an embankment, Rogers said. The vehicle went airborne and overturned twice before it came to rest on its roof against a tree in a yard.
Rogers said Megan Hammill was trapped, and her sister was thrown from the vehicle.
The trooper believes speed was a factor; he estimated Megan Hammill driving 65 mph in a 55 mph zone.
He said Megan Hammill was responsive but confused, and Lindsey Hammill was responsive. The sisters were taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Rockwell Rural Fire Department also responded.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.