Route 271 crash

Paramedic Janice Livingston, 38, was killed Monday, March 2, 2015, when a truck driven by John W. Bitner of Mount Pleasant hit her at the scene of a multiple-vehicle accident on Route 271 in Upper Yoder Township.

The flag was flying at half-staff Monday afternoon and a black sash hung from the West End Ambulance Service building in Johnstown.

It was in remembrance of 38-year-old paramedic Janice Livingston, who was killed earlier in the day when she was struck by a coal truck while assisting at an accident scene in Upper Yoder Township.

Livingston died in the last of a sequence of three crashes that took place on an icy part of Route 271 near Fender Lane in Upper Yoder Township.

All the vehicles involved were northbound, Upper Yoder Township police said.

A school bus stopped to pick up children with a Fed Ex truck stopping behind it, police said.

A sport utility vehicle that was following was not able to stop on the icy road and struck the Fed Ex truck, police said.

Another passenger vehicle that was coming down the roadway went out of control on the icy road, tried to swerve around the truck and SUV but went off the road and struck a utility pole, police said. The pole then fell on top of the Fed Ex truck.

“During the work they were doing on the scene, a coal bucket came down on the icy roadway and basically plowed through the emergency scene, hitting one of the emergency people,” Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said.

Police said the coal truck rode the guardrail in an attempt to stop.

Kwiatkowski said the time of death was 10:35 a.m. and the cause was multiple traumatic injuries.

Livingston’s friends offered their condolences on her Facebook page.

“Rest in Peace. May God hold your family in the palm of His hand,” Nancy Smith Gilbert wrote.

“My dear friend, working with you was a blast. I have many, many fond memories of our time together. you made me laugh and cry. I will miss you dearly. your smile could light the world. We did have great times that will live on. I love you, and will miss you. Thanks for everything,” Denny Crossen wrote.

“No words can express, so heartbroken. I'll never forget some of our times together. My thoughts and prayers are with your family in this difficult time. RIP, Jan,” Caula Rolley-Barley wrote.

“Well girl I have no idea what to say or think ... I always loved working with you. Watch over all of us will you ... One last thing ... Thanks for giving the ultimate sacrifice!” Derek Crook said.

West End Ambulance Service, located at 175 Garfield St., Johnstown, posted a message on its Facebook page.

“As many of you know we lost one of our own today. The outpouring of support from friends, family and colleagues has been overwhelming. Yes we lost a friend and a coworker but out of respect for the family that lost a mother, a daughter and a sister, we ask that you respect their privacy at this time.”

The Windber Fire Department also posted a statement of support:

 “Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy go out to all those effected by this terrible tragedy. We ask that you keep West End EMS, the employees, the friends, and the family of the fallen in your thoughts and prayers as well,” the message read.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete, but there will be a noon news conference on Tuesday at the West End Ambulance Service building.

“It’s tough.” Kwiatkowski said. “These (people) are out in all kinds of weather responding to accidents. Being a firefighter for years, you never know what’s going to happen when you are on scene.”

Ron Musselman is a reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @ronmusselman8.

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