By Leah Williams
A 35-year-old Okawville man and emergency responder died after an ATV accident in rural Washington County.
Coroner Mark Styninger said his office was dispatched to the scene of a crash on County Highway 6 just west of Addieville at 3:13 a.m. Sunday, August 25.
According to reports, Michael L. Todd was apparently the unrestrained driver of an ATV heading west on the highway when the vehicle ran off the south side of the road and struck a culvert. The impact caused the ATV to over turn, and Todd and a passenger – Daniel Savard of Okawville, were both ejected. The ATV reportedly came to rest on Todd, Styninger said.
Savard was transported from the scene by an ARCH Medical Helicopter to a trauma center in St. Louis. Todd was pronounced dead on the scene at 3:27 a.m.
Toxicology samples were obtained for routine testing. Styninger said no further information will be released at this time.
Todd attended Okawville Grade School and Okawville Junior Senior High School. He joined the US Navy shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and he was stationed aboard the USS Nassau in Norfolk, VA. He and his family returned to Okawville in 2015, and Todd became a first responder and firefighter with the Okawville Fire Department. He later went back to school and was hired as an EMT with the Washington County Ambulance Service.
Last fall, Todd and fellow EMT Matt Bierman were part of the hurricane relief team that helped with recovery efforts following Hurricane Florence. The mission was his first, and Todd had recalled the camaraderie that he and other first responders felt during their time there. Several restaurants and other individuals offered meals and other accommodations for the visiting emergency personnel agencies.
“For them to take time and money out of their own schedules to help us when they were the ones going through a disaster it was pretty humbling for me,” Todd told the Nashville News. “I would go again.”
Emergency personnel throughout the county expressed their condolences to Todd’s family and his colleagues on the Okawville Fire Department and Washington County Ambulance Services Sunday afternoon.
“We are truly saddened by the loss of paramedic/firefighter/first responder Michael L. Todd, who lost his life early this morning in an off-duty vehicular crash,” Sheriff Len Campbell said. “Rest in peace, Mike.”
Styninger also wrote in a post on Facebook: “Early this morning, area first responders had the undaunting task of responding to a tragic accident involving one of their own. Although grief stricken and heavy hearted, they continued to care for the other injured party and do their jobs because they are true professionals and that is what they do. Our thoughts go out not only to the families but to the following agencies who we have so much respect for.”
The Addieville Fire Protection District said:”The world is a lesser place without you, Michael. All of your fellow emergency responders will do the very best to continue with the mission you so passionately chose to serve. Rest in peace, brother. We’ll always remember you.”
“Rest in peace, brother,” the Okawville Fire Department said. “We’ll take it from here.”
Additional obituary information for Todd can be found here.