Wake County EMS bands together to help grieving coworker
Posted March 25
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County EMS workers banded together to help a fellow paramedic whose son died in a car accident Thursday morning.
Brandon James Japhet, a 2015 graduate of East Wake High School, crashed his 2000 Ford Explorer into a 2014 Hino Rollback truck while traveling east on U.S. Highway 264 around 2:22 a.m.
Japhet's father, Jim Japhet, was in the middle of major home improvement projects prior to the news of his son's death. Japhet's comrades decided to team up and lend a hand with projects around the house while he takes time to grieve.
“We deal with tragedies day-in and day-out in our community,” said Jonathan Olsen, a coworker of Jim Japhet. “But when it hits one of yours—when it truly comes home—is when you get a group of folks inspired to step up and do something like this.”
Troopers said there was no evidence that Japhet slowed down before colliding with the truck. Officials said they don’t believe the 18-year-old was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Those of us that are teenage parents who are now driving—this is our worst nightmare,” Olsen said.
Authorities identified the driver of the truck as Justin Curtin Everett, 30, of Creedmoor, and a passenger as Christopher Anthony Avila, 51, of Winterville. Officials did not release the condition of Everett or Avila.
Officials are investigating what caused Japhet to hit the tow truck.
“You think you almost get a scab; you sort of get acclimated to dealing with it,” Olsen said. “And then it happens so close to you. All the training, all the experience, everything you have built in your mind to deal with something like this escapes you.”