By Aila Boyd
Dr. Emma Jefferies, a veterinarian from Rockbridge County, attended the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday in order to thank the first responders who assisted her on June 17, a day that the county experienced widespread flooding, when she was involved in a tractor-trailer accident on Interstate 81 near mile marker 160.
“Because of Botetourt County Fire & EMS I’m here today,” she said. “I cannot thank them enough.”
Billy Martin, the chair of the board, noted that Jefferies doesn’t remember anything that happened related to the accident.
Jason Ferguson, the chief of Botetourt County Fire & EMS, explained that Jefferies was trapped for over an hour and 17 minutes in her car underneath a tractor-trailer. “She’s living proof of a system that works,” he said.
The agencies that responded to Jefferies included the Botetourt County Emergency Communications Center, Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department, Troutville Volunteer Fire Department, Botetourt County Fire & EMS career staff, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue, Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department, and Virginia State Police. Ferguson noted that two emergency physicians were on the scene, which “allowed for more advanced procedures to help her and save her life.” The physicians were able to place staples in Jefferies’ head on site in order to stop the bleeding.
“We don’t get this a lot. Normally when we leave someone at the hospital, that’s the last we see of them. We thank you so much for being able to be here, but your thankfulness and consideration of being here is awesome. We appreciate it,” Ray Sloan, who represents the Buchanan District and also serves as the fire & EMS chaplain, said.
Ferguson and Jefferies explained that there have been discussions about her joining the county’s technical large animal rescue response given that she’s a large animal veterinarian.
Jefferies later described the county department as “amazing,” “wonderful,” and “compassionate.”