Miss. flight nurse who died in medical helicopter crash escorted home

Miss. flight nurse who died in medical helicopter crash escorted home

Pafford EMS vehicles led a procession that left Little Rock, Arkansas, Friday morning carrying Spruiell’s body to Sulligent, Alabama, for the funeral

Nov 25, 2017


By William Moore
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

TUPELO, Miss. — Former North Mississippi Medical Center chief flight nurse Jim Spruiell made his way back home to Sulligent, Alabama, Friday from Arkansas.

Spruiell, 61, was one of three people who died in a medical helicopter crash in rural Arkansas Nov. 19. The helicopter, which was operated by Pafford EMS and Air Methods, was en route from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to DeWitt, Arkansas, when the crash occurred.

A candlelight vigil was held for Jim Spruiell Wednesday in Tupelo, Mississippi. (Photo/NMMC Tupelo)
A candlelight vigil was held for Jim Spruiell Wednesday in Tupelo, Mississippi. (Photo/NMMC Tupelo)

Pafford EMS vehicles led a procession that left Little Rock, Arkansas, Friday morning carrying Spruiell’s body to Sulligent, Alabama, for the funeral Sunday. The Mississippi Highway Patrol motorcycle unit escorted the procession on its leg through Mississippi.

In Tupelo, about 20 motorcycles with the Patriot Guard and about a dozen ambulances from Northeast Mississippi joined the procession.

“We are going to ride with them all the way to the funeral home in Sulligent,” said Greg Underwood, of Aberdeen, the assistant state captain of the Patriot Guard.

Several hundred people gathered Friday afternoon near the North Mississippi Medical Center Careflight hangar at the Tupelo Regional Airport. Air ambulances from Oxford and Corinth touched down as well.

“We just wanted to gather to show our respects for Jim,” said Kathy Terrell, director of Emergency Services for NMMC. “We have folks here from several service lines. For the funeral, there will be multiple flyovers.”

The funeral is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. inside the gymnasium at Sulligent High School.

Spruiell joined the NMMC staff in 1992. He became a flight paramedic in 1997 and chief flight nurse in 2001.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. The cause has not been determined.

Copyright 2017 Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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