SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport police have released the name of the 2-year-old child who was fatally injured after his mother accidentally ran him over on Thursday afternoon. And as the family grieves so too are first responders who must confront such trauma day in and day out.
The accident happened at 3:40 p.m. at a home in the 100 block of East Prospect Street. Police say 32-year-old Jennifer Peters pulled her SUV forward in her driveway and ran over 2-year-old Colton Stolzer.
Stolzer was taken to University Health, where he was pronounced dead. The crash remains under investigation. And KSLA News 12 has now learned that several emergency responders have received counseling after this latest tragedy.
Emergency responders are often the first on the scene and sometimes the last to talk about 'their' feelings because their attention is focused on helping others first. Fred Sanders, the Assistant to the chief of the Shreveport Fire Department explained to us, "Even though the public may see firefighters as heroes, I mean we are humans that have feelings."
And while seeing trauma may be common for police, firefighters and other personnel... research shows it takes a psychological toll on them. "We have these, our local pastors to come in and share with them so that these individuals can talk about what they're experiencing, how they're feeling. how this is affecting them. And again we have peer groups to follow that up," added Sanders.
A local counseling center called "Personal Solutions" was called in to help several first responders after this accident. Counselor Craig Kennedy told us, "We've been asked to follow up with a couple of the firefighters and just, you know, because of experiences they've gone through it's brought back other emotions."
We first spoke to Kennedy back in May, shortly after 6-year old Brenden Houston was hit and killed by the school bus that had just dropped him off in north Shreveport. Several firefighters also sought help after that tragedy, as Kennedy explained back then. "Unfortunately, we can't ever take that event from them, but what our hope is, that we can allow them to understand what they've experienced and what they feel from that event is normal."
Studies have found that anywhere from 7-to-37 percent of firefighters meet the guidelines for a current diagnosis of PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We're told the key is to get help 'early' before it becomes an even bigger problem.