Pender County crash results in injuries to paramedics, death of EMS patient

Pender County EMS and Fire officials discuss a head-on collision that took place on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023.
Pender County EMS and Fire officials discuss a head-on collision that took place on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023.

Minutes after receiving a 911 call about an erratic driver, a wreck between that car and a Pender County ambulance resulted in multiple injuries and one death, according to Pender County officials and the N.C. State Highway Patrol.

At about 2 p.m. Thursday, the driver of a 2010 Ford Edge crossed the center lane on the 2700 block of U.S. 117 in St. Helena and collided with the EMS vehicle. A paramedic was giving care to 54-year-old Lynette Smalley of Jacksonville in the back of the ambulance, officials said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

After the head-on collision, Smalley suffered injuries and received life-saving measures from bystanders and first responders. They were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead at the scene, said First Sgt. Jason Casteen with Highway Patrol.

The driver of the Ford Edge, 34-year-old Cassandra Soga, was also injured and was airlifted to Novant’s regional medical center in Wilmington. She was charged with driving while impaired and reckless driving, although more charges are expected, officials said.

The two Pender County EMS personnel, paramedic Holly Bauer and advanced EMT Catherine Wortman, also suffered serious injuries and were still hospitalized as of Friday morning, according to Pender EMS & Fire Director Everett Baysden.

Three other vehicles were also involved in the incident after taking evasive actions to avoid the collision. The total number of victims is more than a dozen and includes some children, according to Pender EMS.

Allison Ballard can be reached at aballard@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Pender County ambulance crash results in injuries, death