1 tribal firefighter killed, 2nd injured in ambulance crash

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — One Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community firefighter was killed and a second critically injured when their ambulance collided with a tractor-trailer rig, officials said.

Firefighter Brendon Bessee was killed and Firefighter Tyler Packer was critically injured in the wreck April 8 on State Route 87 on the tribe's reservation on the east side of metro Phoenix, tribal President Martin Harvier said in a statement

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the truck's driver had minor injuries and that the wreck occurred after the ambulance turned onto the highway while responding to a 911 call, azfamily.com reported.

Cause of the crash was under investigation, the DPS said.

Video posted by azfamily.com showed the ambulance's cab sitting upright but sheared from the rest of the vehicle.

Harvier said Bessee and Packer were recent transfers to the tribal fire department.

"Prayers are needed for the Salt River Fire Department as they navigate through this very difficult time, losing one of their own and thinking about their brother in the hospital," Harvier said.

Outside agencies were helping to answer emergency calls on the reservation, Harvier said. "They are here to help."

A procession April 9 was to take Bessee home to Globe, Arizona.

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