Paramedics killed in 2002 I-35 crash honored
ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — Two southern Oklahoma first responders who died in the line of duty were honored at a memorial dedication in Ardmore Wednesday.
The incident happened on October 6, 2002, as Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service paramedics Shawn Skelly and Shane Gilmore responded to a car accident in the midst of a rainstorm on Interstate 35.
Skelly, Gilmore and the accident victim they were treating were killed when a passing motorist crashed into them.
"My daughter, Victoria and Sami Skelly, were childhood classmates, and so I've had a connection with the Skelly family for many, many years," said state Rep. Tammy Townley (R-District 48). "We had the opportunity to name this bridge. It's something that tugged at my heart, and I was happy to be able to do this for the family."
Since their passing, Skelly's paramedic number 22 and Gilmore's number 30 have been retired, and a headstone memorial was established at Ardmore Regional Park.
On Wednesday, Foothill Road Bridge on I-35, near the site of the 2002 crash, was named in their honor.
"We're still honoring them, talking about them and doing dedication services 20 years later," Lisa Hoffman said, Shane Gilmore's first cousin. "That says what kind of men they were in their lives. [Shane] got called at people's worst times and he was able to show love and joy to them in what he was doing. I think that's what he would tell anybody."
In a statement from Shawn Skelly's daughter, Sami Skelly-Hunter, she says:
"On behalf of our family, we are honored that the memory of our late dad, and Shane, are going to be remembered, as they both are in our hearts everyday. We are very thankful that they will be remembered for years to come. The accident is a tragedy that I know my brother and I feel everyday, and we work to keep our father's memory alive within ourselves, everyone we love and that loved our dad. He will forever be the missing piece in our lives, but with the naming of the bridge, it will become a piece of helping us make sure the memory of them lives on."