Friday, May 29, 2009

SAR News: LODD - SLO SAR official cause of death released

Christopher Meadows
A man with a huge smile and a huge heart
Meadows is the first Search and Rescue member to be killed in the line of duty in San Luis Obispo County

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department releases an official cause of death of a search and rescue volunteer killed Sunday.

An autopsy shows that Christopher Meadows died from serious blunt force trauma when he rolled his ATV while responding to a first aid call. Investigators say an ambulance following him was unable to stop and then hit his ATV shortly after. Meadows is the first search and rescue team member in the county to die in the line of duty.

Those who worked with Meadows described him as dedicated and willing to take on leadership roles. They cannot believe a man with so much going for him, is no longer here.

Friends say 24-year-old Meadows was a man with a huge smile and a huge heart.

"He was the kind of person we were looking at that would be the future search and rescue leadership in this county 10 to 20 years from now," said Sergeant Mark Maki, search and rescue coordinator.

Sergeant Maki supervised the search and rescue team. Meadows was one of 47 search and rescue volunteers. Sergeant Maki said those volunteers were like a family.

"He had earned a lot of respect, so my team is really grieving his loss right now," Sergeant Maki said.

A makeshift memorial sits where Meadows worked as an EMT for San Luis Ambulance.

His colleagues at San Luis Ambulance said it was too soon to go on camera. Many were still going through grief counseling Thursday afternoon.

The Director of Operations, Joe Peidelue, released this statement:

"Chris was a special human being and cared for people so much. He worked for us as a caregiver and he was out volunteering his time as a caregiver when he ultimately died. He was great at what he did. He was that extra special guy."

Investigators believe Meadows died shortly after he rolled his ATV Sunday when responding to a medical call at the dunes.

"These are volunteers who are specialized trained, who risk their lives all the time," said Rob Bryn with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.

"It's not just a loss to the sheriff's department search and rescue, but it's a loss to a lot of different people right now," added Sergeant Maki.

A memorial service is planned for Monday at the Queen of Apostles Church in San Jose.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, June 1, at 1:00pm at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, 4911 Moorpark, San Jose.

Local law enforcement and search and rescue team members will be taking a bus to the bay area for this service.

Source article: KSBY - Link

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