August 24, 2004
Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856
Polk County Sheriff's Office Fatal Crash Involving Ambulance
Polk County Sheriff's Traffic Homicide
Deputies are conducting a traffic crash investigation this evening
involving a Polk County ambulance.
The single-vehicle crash occurred at 5:25 p.m. on Monday, August 23,
2004. The ambulance, stationed out of ALS-12, Cypress Gardens, was
transporting a patient in the Winter Haven area to Winter Haven
Hospital, headed westbound on Dundee Road, or CR 542. After passing
through the intersection at Carl Floyd Road, the ambulance driver
apparently lost control, slid into the grass, overturned and crashed
into a pine tree.
The ambulance driver, 41-year-old EMT Dawn Shaepert, was transported to
Winter Haven Hospital in another ambulance. On board also were a
patient, 37-year-old Bernadette Gregory of Waverly, and 33-year-old
paramedic Michael Tomlinson. Gregory and Tomlinson were both
transported via helicopter to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Gregory
apparently did not suffer injuries from the crash, while Tomlinson
suffered several broken bones to his face and body.
firefighter who was on board assisting the paramedic was declared dead
on scene. The firefighter, 22-year-old Benjamin Matthew Lang, has
been a Polk County firefighter at station 8, Cypress Gardens, for 3
years. He was single, and his parents reside in Polk County. He lived in
Winter Haven. He was most recently assisting the community with relief
efforts after Hurricane Charley. He was also EMT-certified and routinely
rode with EMS to assist, as he was during this unfortunate incident.
The traffic crash investigation continues, and this information is