Paramedic killed in wreck days before father/daughter dance recital

An ambulance lies on its side at the scene of a wreck where two American Medical Response ambulance employees were killed and a third person seriously injured after the ambulance hit a car and rolled over on Indiantown Road in Jupiter before dawn Thursday, June 1, 2017.

Credit: Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post

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An ambulance lies on its side at the scene of a wreck where two American Medical Response ambulance employees were killed and a third person seriously injured after the ambulance hit a car and rolled over on Indiantown Road in Jupiter before dawn Thursday, June 1, 2017.

Credit: Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post

Credit: Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post

One of the two medical technicians killed early Thursday when their ambulance crashed and overturned in Jupiter, Florida, died days before a daughter/dad dance with his young daughter.

Paul Besaw had been rehearsing for a dance scheduled for Sunday in Fort Lauderdale with his 5-year-old daughter, Alison.

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“(Paul and Alison) had such a fantastic relationship. He would be goofy, supportive… whatever he needed to be with her. They had the relationship we all wish we could have with our daughters,” said Brett Witherspoon, whose sister Dawn had been married to Besaw for about 10 years.

Besaw, 36, and Lahiri Garcia, 51, died Thursday morning when their ambulance crashed on Indiantown Road, just west of Military Trail. The two men were alone in the ambulance and on their way to the AMR station on Indian Creek Drive west of Central Boulevard when the crash occurred, said Kim Warth, AMR’s national director of communications.

Witherspoon, a home builder, was impressed with Besaw from the first time he met the man destined to marry his sister.

“He was a guy who put others before himself. He excelled at his job. He was a hero,” said Witherspoon, 44, who stopped to call The Palm Beach Post at the Florida/Georgia line as he drove to Palm Beach County with his wife, Amy, and son Miles, 7, from their home in Spartanburg, S.C.

The strong outpouring of sympathy to his family shows the high esteem in which Besaw was held by his peers, Witherspoon said. The family has been receiving condolences from all across the northeast part of the country.

“First responders are a family. We are getting an outpouring of love,” Witherspoon said.

Besaw acted as a mentor to many young medical technicians. He helped out hospital volunteers, candy stripers and anyone else, Witherspoon said.

“(Paul) would get calls from the young medical technicians at 3 a.m. from the scene. They would have questions. That’s how much he was respected,” said Witherspoon.

Besaw grew up in Jupiter. Dawn received a condolence call Thursday from a Jupiter police officer who had known Paul since he was 15, said Witherspoon.

The Besaw family lives in Weston with Dawn’s mother, Donna. She suffers from a heart condition. Besaw often assisted her with emergency services. He went out of his way to help with her care, said Witherspoon.

“Anybody who takes that kind of care of his mother-in-law is a good guy,” said Witherspoon.

Alison, the couple’s only child and who turns 6 in three weeks, is still processing her father’s death. The two had been practicing regularly for the dad/daughter dance.

“She lost her father. That’s a void that can’t be filled,” Witherspoon said.

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