EMT Killed in I-580 Collision Remembered as 'Dedicated and Likable'

Use the grey scroll bar to see what people are saying online about the death of Reed Austin Whittaker, 29, of Livermore.

Screenshot Royal Ambulance Facebook logo covered with black mourning band in honor of Reed Whittaker
Screenshot Royal Ambulance Facebook logo covered with black mourning band in honor of Reed Whittaker
Several members of the EMS community say their circle of emergency responders been devastated by the loss of 29-year-old EMT Reed Whittaker this week. Thoughts, wishes and prayers for Whittaker and his family have been posted online from all around the Bay Area, the state and across the country as people mourn the death of the man killed while driving on I-580 on the morning of Dec. 12.

[Related article: Driver Killed in Fiery I-580 Collision Identified]

Whittaker was an EMT and a supervisor for Royal Ambulance in San Leandro who graduated from the Chabot College Fire Technology program.
Those who knew Whittaker through work, school or his volunteering efforts have posted their memories about him online.

Paramedics on Facebook posted the following message in their Facebook status:

The San Francisco Bay Area lost one of our own this week in a tragic freeway wreck. A suspected drunk driver caused a wreck which claimed the life of Reed Whittaker. His dedication to EMS, uncanny ability to establish rapport with any partner will be the memories many will cherish. He was not only a knowledgable EMT, he was an easily likable person. Reed was the guy who could (and would) work with anyone, anytime. He always willingly volunteered to help with community involvement, company functions and mentor ship of junior EMTs. An all around good guy both on and off duty. Please share this as a reminder to take care when driving & to be responsible. Reed worked for Royal Ambulance in Alameda County, Northern California. Many of his former colleagues have been affected by his untimely loss. We will all miss him & will honor his memory. -Amer Hamzah

Royal Ambulance posted about the loss of Whittaker on their Facebook page:

R.I.P Reed Whittaker! This is such a devastating loss for all of your team members, for your family and friends and for the EMS community. Your compassion and dedication to helping others was inspiring and everyone loved having you as their partner. Your smile will be missed… but you will never be forgotten!!

Patch reader JeanMarie Mead says she met Whittaker once while at work.

I met Reed once at work--I am a nurse. He was smiling and warm, very caring and professional. This makes me sad and oh so mad as well. Why is someone drunk at 10 am on a Thursday morning? This is as premeditated--he knew he was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel. Throw the book at this guy and save more lives. Prayers to Reed's family and may God comfort them.

Several commentors posted on The Royal Ambulance's Facebook page about Whittaker's personality:
  • Brian Kuhn: I can't believe it! I once was a "frequent flyer" with Royal Ambulance and that's how I knew Reed Whittaker (before he was their FTO, I believe.). He always knew how to make the trip to the hospital better even when I boarded the rig feeling lousy. I'm in tears as I write this message knowing such a caring man is gone. My condolences to the Whittaker Family, as well as the family that is Royal Ambulance. RIP Reed Whittaker.
  • Iris Nahm: My thoughts and prayers to his family and to his extended family at Royal Ambulance, I remember meeting him when I was a brand new EMT for Royal... He was an awesome guy. I'm so saddened by this tragedy. Huge loss to EMS.
  • Jan Monteyne" We remember Reed as a terrific guy with an amazing smile. Our hearts go out to Sally, Brad and Cary at this very painful time.
The driver of the Hummer, Primitino Garcia, 53, of Livermore was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after the collision. Garcia and his passenger were able to escape the collision wreckage with minor injuries. Garcia has been released on bail, according to Sergeant JD Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

Royal Ambulance has not yet been reached for comment about Whittaker.

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