The family of David Eads is remembering him as a dedicated man who loved his job as an EMT with UT Health East Texas in Tyler.

Eads’ daughter, Heather Tarr, says her father worked in emergency services for 24 years. Tarr says he spent time working in the Texas Panhandle before coming to East Texas.

Tarr says he loved his job and had a huge heart.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says on Wednesday night, Eads was driving an ambulance on U.S. Highway 69 in Hunt County when the southbound UT Health East Texas ambulance hit an 18-wheeler that was backing out of a private drive across two lanes of Highway 69. The ambulance was unable to stop in time, hitting the rock hauler’s trailer.

UT Health East Texas paramedic James Malone was injured in the crash. He was taken to a Tyler hospital and was listed in serious condition as of Wednesday night. Eads was pronounced dead at the scene.

“We are devastated by the loss of UT Health East Texas EMS Paramedic David Eads,” a statement from UT Health said. “David served others through his skills as a dedicated paramedic for over 24 years, touching countless lives.”

The UT Health statement said Eads joined UT Health East Texas EMS in December 2020, and he served the Tyler/Smith County area as a lead paramedic.

The UT Health statement said, recently, Eads could be seen working standby at high school football games, where he often posed for pictures with players, fans, and mascots. The statement also said Eads constantly sought out more education to provide the best care possible for his patients.

“David was the kind of person that made you feel better simply by being around him,” said John Smith, CEO of UT Health East Texas EMS. “He had a way of making those around him better because of his huge heart for EMS and concern over his patients.”

Jorge Vazquez, of the Fort Worth area, the driver of the 18-wheeler, was not injured in the crash. Bradford said Vazquez was cited for unsafe backing. He added that no criminal charges are pending at this time.

According to the UT Health statement, the unit designation 809 will be retired and removed from service in Eads’ honors.