PARAMEDIC MOURNED 500 ATTEND SERVICE FOR EMT KILLED IN CRASH.
LANCASTER - Some 500 firefighters, law enforcement officers, co-workers, family members and friends paid their last respects to an emergency medical technician killed in a head-on collision on his way home from work.
Firetrucks and ambulances were parked outside the Lancaster JetHawks' stadium for the memorial service for Michael Sprinkles, described by friends and family as outgoing, hard-working, a good friend, and a loving father and husband.
``For those who knew Mike well, he was just a big teddy bear with a boisterous voice,'' said Mike Kirkland, who worked with Sprinkles at American Medical Response ambulance service.
Sprinkles, 37, who was with AMR for 10 years, had been working out of a fire station in Canyon Country. He was riding his motorcycle home on Sept. 6 to Lancaster from an overnight shift in Canyon Country when he was hit by a car that crossed the center line on Sierra Highway.
Wednesday's memorial service was held at Lancaster's Clear Channel Stadium because American Medical Response staffed all the JetHawks' home baseball games.
Sprinkles' wife, Rose, and sons Austin, 11, and Logan, 9, sat with the rest of his family around a podium set up at home plate as Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and scores of AMR co-workers filled stadium seats.
``I always liked working with Mike as a paramedic. I always could rely on him to get in there and do the job,'' said Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic Steve Bartram.
Bartram lives across the street from the Sprinkles' home. Bartram said Sprinkles loved to engage in friendly competitions over who had the greenest lawn or the best Christmas decorations.
``Mike was full of life,'' said county Fire Department Chaplain Don Kanallakan. ``The last emergency response I was on with Mike, it was typical Mike. He took care of business, but then he would also sidle up beside you and tell you how he had bought a boat and he and his family were going to the river for 1 1/2 weeks.''
Jailed in the crash that killed Sprinkles is a 38-year-old ex-convict named Juan Bibinz, a Littlerock resident who authorities said is in the U.S. illegally after having been deported to Mexico in 1999. Authorities said Bibinz had a driver's license under one of many assumed names.
Witnesses told CHP officers that Bibinz, in a Mazda Protege, had been driving recklessly and crossed the double-yellow center line of Sierra Highway near Davenport Road and hit Sprinkles' motorcycle. Bibinz did not appear to be intoxicated, CHP officers said.
Bibinz has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and is jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.
The family asked that donations be made through American Medical Response to the Michael Sprinkles Memorial Fund.
(1 -- 2 -- color -- ran in AV edition only) Rose Sprinkles, wife of the paramedic killed in a recent crash, and the couple's sons Austin, 11, and Logan, 9, listen to the memorial service. Paramedic Michael Sprinkles, above, was 37.
(3 -- 5 -- color; 4 -- ran in AV edition only) At top, guests sign a memorial book for the Sprinkles family. Above, Los Angeles County Fire Department chaplain Don Kanallakan speaks at the service Wednesday as Sprinkles' wife, Rose, and son, Logan, share the moment. At left, American Medical Response employees look at a plaque memorializing Michael Sprinkles on their way into Clear Channel Stadium on Wednesday.
Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Sep 15, 2005|
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