Local flight nurse killed in Arkansas helicopter crash

Officials say a medical helicopter has crashed in rural Arkansas, killing all three people on board.

Posted: Nov 20, 2017 8:26 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2017 8:02 AM

UPDATE 11/20/17 7:15pm

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Jim Spruiell was the chief flight nurse at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, where he worked for over 20 years. 

Friends and coworkers remember him as a kind and honest person. 

Jim Spruiell

They knew what a wonderful person he was," said Dennis Hebner with NMMC. "He shared that with everyone he knew."

According to Hebner, Spruiell leaves behind a wife and family.

Some of the NMMC buildings have black ribbons on the door to honor Spruiell's memory.


DEWITT, Ark. (AP/WTVA) — The North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) has identified one of the three people killed in an east Arkansas helicopter crash as Jim Spruiell.

He was a flight nurse who worked for NMMC's air ambulance service.

Another medical personnel and the pilot died as a result of the crash. No patients were on board at the time.

The cause of the crash, which happened in an area about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Little Rock, is not yet known but federal agencies are investigating.

Pafford Air One identified the other victims as 46-year-old pilot Michael Bollen of Hot Springs and 26-year-old flight paramedic John Auld III, who went by the nickname Trey, of Shreveport, Louisiana. Pafford Air One says the helicopter had been flying from Pine Bluff to a hospital in Helena-West Helena.

"We are all devastated and profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of these valued EMS colleagues and friends. We will continue to try and comfort the crew's families as well as everyone in our employ," said Pafford Air One Director Dustin Ross.

Spruiell and Auld worked for Pafford Air One, which provides emergency transport in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Bollen was a pilot for Air Methods Corp.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the crash.

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