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Penn Hills paramedic dies in multi-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh

WTAE Pittsburgh 11/28/2022 Tori Yorgey and Sheldon Ingram
nicholas a. theofilis © Photo provided nicholas a. theofilis

A Penn Hills paramedic died after a crash involving three vehicles, including an ambulance, in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood.

First responders responded to the scene on Fifth Avenue at the intersection with Morewood Avenue just after 11 p.m. on Sunday.

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Pittsburgh Public Safety said Pittsburgh EMS found a man behind the wheel of the ambulance in cardiac arrest. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Penn Hills EMS released a statement identifying the man who died as Nicholas A. Theofilis, a paramedic from Station 380 and saying that he was on duty at the time of the crash.

"He was a really good person," says Tatyana Lantry, a long-time friend of Theofilis for 10 years. "He cared about everybody. That was definitely one person that could bring multiple different people together."

He was widely regarded as an enthusiastic public servant, working for two EMS teams prior to his death.

After high school, Theofilis worked as an EMT for White Oak EMS, and in March, he received his certification as a paramedic to work full-time for Penn Hills EMS.

However, because of his fondness for the White Oak community, EMS Chief Paul Falavolito says he stayed on as a part-time paramedic while working full-time for Penn Hills. "It speaks volumes about his character that he would be willing to serve two communities because Penn Hills is his hometown. When he became a paramedic, I understood the need to go back home to do it."

Tristen Marriotti is another long-time friend of Theofilis feeling the heaviness after his death, "Nick's passion was definitely helping people. He would go out of his way for anybody. He helped me through a really rough time."

Theofilis, 23, was a paramedic for Penn Hills/White Oak EMS and a firefighter for Rosedale Volunteer Fire Department in Penn Hills.

The Penn Hills EMS supervisor described Theofilis as someone who did a lot for the community. She said he worked hard by spending time in Oklahoma training to be able to work back in the place he called home: Penn Hills.

The passenger in the ambulance suffered head trauma, facial lacerations and a possible concussion, according to police.

The driver of another vehicle involved had stomach pain. That person and the passenger of the ambulance were taken to the hospital and are listed in stable condition.

Police on the scene said the driver of the third vehicle was not taken to the hospital.

Investigators were on the scene until about 4:15 a.m. on Monday to determine the cause of the crash.

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