Only on 12: Grandfather of toddler hit and killed criticizes EMS response


Ryan Eagerton (WRDW-TV)

Ryan Eagerton (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o’clock / Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WAGENER, S.C. (WRDW) -- George Day is still in pain after losing his grandson just days ago.

"I had a special name for him,” Day said. “I called him 'Squealy,' and we had a little game we had a little game. Every time I’d go to chase him, he'd squeal.”

On July 4, "Squealy," or Ryan Eagerton, jumped out in front of car at his home near A.L. Corbett Middle School. Eagerton later died in a Richland County hospital.

Day is not only his grandfather, but he’s also a Wagener firefighter who responded to the scene.

"When I got the call, I heard the address, and when I heard that it was a 2-year-old, I knew, right then, who it was," Day said.

Firefighters say Eagerton had severe injuries but was breathing leaving the scene. Day says the firefighters almost immediately called for a chopper, but he says the Emergency Medical Services response was too slow.

"A lot of precious time was lost. Every minute that you waste is precious time," Day said.

A computer aided dispatch report shows the helicopter was just five or six minutes from landing in Wagener, but then, it was rerouted to the Pelion Airport in Lexington County.

A county report has since explained that the chopper was further away from the landing zone at A.L. Corbett Middle School than firefighters thought. However, Day doubts it. He says he was at the landing zone and says he heard the chopper approaching.

"When I get a landing zone, and we are set up, I listen out for it," Day said.

After the reroute, Day says the ambulance should have gotten to the chopper in Lexington County in just 17 minutes. Records show it took 22 minutes.

Now, Day wonders, if his grandson could have been saved.

"We cannot say if he would or would not make it. That's not our call, but it is our call to do our best ability to ensure that he could have made it,” he said.

The county report says the ambulance crew also had trouble finding the accident scene.

However, the report goes on to say Aiken County EMS did everything within protocol in a prudent manner.


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