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Jan 12, 2014 12:39 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Medics knew unbuckled victim who died in accident

TUCSON - Firefighters who responded to a collision that killed their friend hope people will learn a lesson from the accident.

Anjalyn Lovendahl collided with another vehicle January 4 at Tanque Verde Road and Catalina Highway. Firefighters do not believe she was wearing a seatbelt. She died January 7.

Larry Briggs is an EMT for the Tucson Fire Department. He was one of 2 firefighters on the call who actually knew the victim. He did not realize who it was until somebody called him 3 hours later.

"When we go to an auto accident, we're focused on the patient and the patient care," Briggs said. "There was maybe a spark of recognition, ‘I think I've met this person before.'"

Briggs drove the paramedic truck to the hospital.

"You stop and start thinking about the accident," he said. "What could we have done better? What could we have done different? Is there anything we could have done to help her and provide better care? I couldn't come up with anything."

Lovendahl grew up around the fire department. She was dating a firefighter. Her dad was a good friend of Battalion Chief Jeff Thompson. She even babysat his kids.

"I knew they'd be entertained for sure," Thompson said. "She was always full of life. Completely full of life and such an open, giving person."

Thompson said she always buckled her seatbelt. The night of the accident she was taking a very short trip to the pharmacy near her apartment.

"If anything Anjalyn could do by this happening to prevent that from happening to anyone else," he said. "That would be her biggest joy."

She apparently died of a head injury that might have been prevented if she were buckled, according to Thompson.

"If you're not restrained in a vehicle, you become a projectile," Briggs said, "moving around inside of the vehicle as the vehicle is moving around on the street."

Lovendahl donated her organs.

Her viewing is scheduled Wednesday. Her memorial and burial is Thursday. Her family is struggling with the expenses. Donations can be made to Anjalyn Lovendahl's memorial account at any Wells Fargo bank.

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