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Jason Bostic and Leslie Dahl: A tale of resilience after a devastating wreck

Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 5:44 pm

By Brandie Gay

On a fateful Fourth of July in 2023, the quiet town of Vandalia, Mo., witnessed a heart-wrenching incident that left the community in shock. Two dedicated first responders, Jason Bostic and Leslie Dahl, were severely injured in an ambulance collison while returning from a call. Their story is one of courage, resilience, and unwavering support from their fellow townspeople.

Van-Far Paramedic Jason Bostic and EMT Leslie Dahl were on duty, their ambulance, a lifeline for those in need, returning from Hannibal from a call. But fate had other plans. An SUV, driven by 43-year-old Terri Rucker, collided head-on with their ambulance on Hwy. 61. The impact was devastating.

The crash left both Bostic and Dahl with serious injuries. Dahl, who was driving the ambulance at the time of the accident, sustained internal injuries to her spleen and lungs, in addition to multiple fractures to both legs and her pelvis. Bostic, a front-seat passenger, suffered multiple fractures in both legs and arms. Both would go through multiple surgeries to repair their injuries. Injuries that would restrict them from ever returning to work—to a life they loved.

In the wake of this tragedy, the Vandalia community rallied around their injured heroes. The outpouring of love, prayers, and well wishes was overwhelming.

Wendy Hull, the Van-Far EMS administrator, expressed her gratitude.

“I can’t express the love that has been poured out to these two,” she said. “I’m just overwhelmed by all of it.”

A procession of ambulances and troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol escorted Bostic back to his home in Vandalia after he left the rehabilitation center. It was a poignant moment, a testament to the tight-knit bonds that hold this community together.

Bostic’s journey to recovery was arduous. Multiple fractures required surgeries, physical therapy, and unwavering determination. Dahl, too, fought bravely, defying pain and adversity. Their families, friends, and colleagues stood by them, providing unwavering support.

The accident serves as a stark reminder of the risks faced by all first responders. Their dedication often places them in harm’s way, but their commitment to saving lives remains unshaken. As the community continues to stand by Bostic and Dahl, it honor their sacrifice and resilience.

Their story is one of survival, community, and hope. Their courage should inspire us all to appreciate the sacrifices made by our emergency responders. Remember their names and honor their unwavering commitment to service, even in the face of tragedy.

On Saturday, April 6, the community will once again come together to help Bostic and Dahl with a Basket Bingo. All proceeds will go towards their recovery costs. The bingo will be held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. with games starting at 7 p.m. Twenty games for $25, and each additional packets is $10. This event will be BYOB food and drinks. The Vandalia Area Chamber of Commerce will also hold a silent auction and 50/50 and raffles. Come on out and support two Vandalia heroes. They still need us.