by: Greg Suskin Updated:
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. - An emergency worker, described as passionate and dedicated, was laid to rest in a small town Thursday afternoon, after an ambulance crash took her life on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people gathered at Crossoads Baptist church near Ruby, S.C. to pay their respects to 43-year-old Gale Rivers.
Rivers died Tuesday when the ambulance she was riding in pulled out in front of an 18-wheeler on Highway 74 in Monroe. She leaves behind a son and a grandchild.
Chopper 9 captured video of a long line of ambulances riding in the funeral procession from Chesterfield to the small country church.
Robert Harris, an EMT from Hartsville, was riding with them.
"It was sobering. It just sent chills," he said.
Harris had never met Rivers, but was amazed by the support and respect he saw in Chesterfield County.
"All the people lined up on the sides of the streets. Some actually saluting or putting hands over their hearts. It was amazing," he said.
Rivers worked as an EMT for the Sandhills Ambulance Service. One of their ambulances carried her body from the funeral home to the church on Thursday afternoon.
Ryan Teal was emotional when he talked to Eyewitness News about Rivers. He was her partner for two years and rode side-by-side with her in an ambulance.
"You have to be a special person to work in this line of business, and she was that fit. She was that person," Teal said.
As Teal rode in the long procession in one of the dozens of ambulances and emergency vehicles, he had one very strong thought.
"At any time it could be any one of us," he said. "It's nice to see that so many people care about us, and what we do."
Rivers was laid to rest in Crossroads Cemetery, right across the street from the church where she was a member.
Delores Jordan is also a member of Crossroads Baptist. She said Rivers was highly-respected there, as she was in her work.
She described the funeral service as a special time.
"The funeral was very beautiful," she said. "It was really nice."