An Illinois firefighter is reported to have died Wednesday after a medical complication forced him to drive his pickup truck into three parked cars.
Champaign County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Brian Mennenga reports that 46-year-old Homer resident John Mike Cummins was taken to the hospital following an accident 45 minutes after midnight in the small Illinois town.
Cummins died a little over an hour later in the emergency room, according to coroner Duane Northrup. An autopsy is reportedly scheduled for Thursday.
Mennenga said that Cummins and his passenger – who was also a firefighter – had been responding to a call prior to the accident.
Homer Fire Chief Don have said that Cummins was not feeling well, and had recently had been recovering from a blood clot that was removed from his leg.
The passenger, Cody Shik, of the ill-fated vehicle had reportedly been distraught over what had happened to the driver.
“He wanted to be able to do something but knew there was nothing he could do,” the chief said of the passenger, who is 18 years old. “He [Cummins] passed out and hit a couple cars.”
“I was the first one there in my Chief’s vehicle,” Homer Fire Chief Don Happ said. “As soon as I pulled up, I knew exactly who it was. It’s hard when you have to work on one of your own.”
“It’s hard when you have to work on one of your own,” said Happ, a Homer firefighter for 30 years and chief of the department for 26.
Happ said Cummins never missed a day of work and was a beloved figure around the fire department.
According to the News Gazette, Pap was overwhelmed by calls and messages from firefighters of departments in other areas, a full firefighter funeral with honors is being planned.