Retired firefighter, killed rescuing stranger, remembered for life of service

When Wes Weysham passed an accident on Interstate 75 he could have kept going. Instead, he decided to stop and help, saving the life of an impaired driver.

In doing so, he sacrificed his own.

Those who worked with the retired Sarasota County Fire Rescue firefighter and paramedic are not surprised by his selflessness, but that doesn’t take away from the pain of his passing.

Monday night, the crew at Sarasota County Fire Station 16 described Weysham with two words:

"Honor and sacrifice," said Chief Michael Regnier. 

Chief Michael Regnier said Weysham was always on the job even when he was off duty. 

"It was an honor to serve with Wes Weysham... He would stop, no matter what. No matter the situation. No matter what was going on," said Chief Reginer. 

Weysham dedicated his life to helping others. 

He served five years in the Navy and then the reserve. He dedicated 10 years to Sarasota County Fire Rescue and volunteered more than 20 years with Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue. 

"It's no secret that first responders put their lives on the line every day. But this wasn’t a job for Wes. It was the way he lived. It’s what be believed in. He had public service running in his veins," said Chief Reginer. 

Sunday morning, it was a crash on I-75 near milepost 254 in Hillsborough County that caught Weysham's attention. 

Troopers said an impaired driver, George Evans, III stopped his truck on the interstate with his lights turned off. Another car crashed into him. 

Weysham ran to help. He pulled Evans from his truck, but moments later another car hit Evan's truck, sending it straight into Weysham.

He died on the scene. 

Troopers said the man Weysham saved will likely face charges. 

Meanwhile, those Weysham leaves behind will never forget his dedication and his sacrifices to make sure others were always kept out of harm's way. 

"It was pure instinct. I’m sure he would have done it for anyone, any day... Wes was a hero," said Chief Reginer. 

Wes' family released a statement saying:

Wes was a beloved husband, stepfather, grandfather, and friend.

He was patriotic and absolutely loved this country.

Wes served in the United States Navy from 1977-1982, followed by service in the Navy Reserve.

Wes has volunteered with the nonprofit group Sarasota K9 Search & Rescue since 1998, first as a K9 Handler and more recently as a Land Navigation Instructor.

He was a member of the Sarasota County Fire Department from 2007-2017.

As a dedicated first responder, Wes had a high sense of integrity, which drove everything he did.

Known both personally and professionally as a mentor with a huge heart, he could also be silly and loved cracking jokes. Wes was all about community and making sure everyone was OK. He would give the shirt off his back and go out of his way to help others, even if that meant being the first one in to face danger.

Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of support at this unimaginable time of grief.

A GoFund me account has been set up to help Weysham's family with expenses: