Firefighter hailed hero after he died trying to rescue mom who drove herself, son into river

18 days ago

Braxton County news, West Virginia news.

A West Virginia firefighter died heroically while trying to save the lives of a suicidal mom and her 8-year-old son after she drove into a river on May 1.

“At approximately 2:30 p.m., a vehicle drove into the Elk River, resulting in the death of both vehicle occupants and an off-duty volunteer firefighter, who attempted to provide aid to the victims before emergency responders arrived on the scene,” a statement from the WV Fire Marshal said.

“The vehicle operated by 42-year-old LaTonya Bell of Cleveland, Ohio drove into the Elk River near the area of the Braxton County Senior Citizens Center along Route 4.”

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  • “While working less than a mile away, Gassaway Volunteer Firefighter, John D. Forbush, 24-years-old, heard the initial dispatch call on his department-issued radio and responded directly to the scene.”

    Forbush reportedly jumped into the water to help the woman and her child who were trapped inside the car but ended up drowning with them. All three victims were found dead within a few hours.

    “John D. Forbush selflessly gave his life for strangers in need. He proudly served the Gassaway community for 4 years as a volunteer firefighter. His service to the community will forever be remembered.”