A 23-year-old Vernon County Ambulance District emergency medical technician who had served with the Kansas Army National Guard in the African nation of Djibouti died in a motorcycle-car collision at 7:26 a.m. Tuesday three miles east of Fort Scott, Kan., on U.S. 54.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Justin Hueston of Mapleton, Kan., was eastbound on his 1977 Honda motorcycle when a westbound 1996 Buick Park Avenue driven by 24-year-old Joshua S. Bassett of Fort Scott "drifted left of center and struck him in the eastbound turn lane to 265th Street 34 feet west of the U.S. 54-265th Street intersection."
The highway patrol reported on its Web site that Hueston's body was taken to Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., and that Bassett was being treated for disabling injuries at Freeman Health System in Joplin.
An investigator said Hueston was wearing safety glasses, but it was not known if he had had a helmet. The officer said Bassett was wearing a seatbelt.
A Vernon County Ambulance District official said Tuesday afternoon that Hueston was on his way to work when the accident happened. "Justin was a gregarous, awesome young man," she said, adding that Hueston's father Mike is a part-time paramedic for the district.
"He was a wonderful, caring, compassionate, energetic, ambitious person. You asked him to do it and it was done."
The official said no funeral arrangements had been made.
The Daily Mail had reported in May that the U.S. Department of Defense gave the ambulance district a Patriot Award for its support of Hueston's year-long service as a specialist in Djibouti, a small nation on the Horn of Africa, with the Guard's 1116th Forward Support Company from Hutchinson, Kan.
Hueston and his wife Katie have two small children.