Friends, colleagues remembering Toronto paramedic as a hero in life — and in death
George Eliadis and his partner Shari Keyes-Williams died in a crash on Highway 118
After a car crossed the centre line on a Haliburton County highway and hit a group of motorcyclists, George Eliadis was among those seriously injured.
It was the kind of scene he'd experienced many times in his nearly three decades as a Toronto paramedic. But on Saturday, the 52-year-old Uxbridge resident was on the other side, in need of medical aid and hovering close to death.
Even in his final moments on Highway 118, Eliadis was still thinking of someone other than himself, said George Christopoulos, his friend since elementary school.
"When he was hit and anguishing in pain, the paramedics who responded to the scene went to him," Christopoulos told CBC Toronto.
Instead, Eliadis told them to take care of his partner Shari Keyes-Williams, according to an account of Eliadis' death shared with Christopoulos by his friend's family.
"Paramedics went to her," he said. "By the time they had returned, he had passed."
Keyes-Williams, 42, died as well, while two other motorcyclists are seriously injured in the wake of a Chrysler PT Cruiser crossing the highway's centre line and hitting them.
Now, Christopoulos and his friend's former colleagues are remembering Eliadis as a dedicated paramedic whose passion for helping others continued until his death.
Eliadis 'proudly served' for 27 years
"He spent over 25 years saving people and bringing them back to life when he was on the road at work," Christopoulos said, recounting his friend's anecdotes about bringing people from accident scenes to hospital or getting their pulse back at the scene.
In an emotional interview on Monday at Toronto Paramedic Services' headquarters in North York, spokesperson Kim McKinnon said Eliadis's colleagues are "shocked" by his sudden death.
Eliadis was known for his emergency planning work for some of Toronto's biggest events, she said, including the Pan Am Games, Caribana, and Pride.
"He was so highly respected by everyone," she said.
"George proudly served for 27 years with the city's paramedic services where he helped Toronto residents during emergencies," echoed Mayor John Tory in a statement.
Eliadis was also a loving father of two, Christopoulos said, a new grandfather, and longtime partner to Keyes-Williams.
The OPP has not said if charges will be laid in connection with the crash, which happened between Trappers Trail and Essonville Line in Highlands East Township, north of Peterborough.