Community mourning Penn Hills paramedic who died after ambulance crash

PENN HILL, Pa. — It was an accident that stole the life of a young paramedic whose community is already feeling his loss.

“He’s probably the youngest old man I’ve ever met,” said Mame Saltzman.

At just 23 years old, Nick Theofilis left a mark.

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“Wherever he went, he made friends. That’s how he was — old, young, always looking out for everyone. If you ever needed anyone, he was there for you,” Dani Scott said.

This group of women watched Nick grow. From a teenage lifeguard at the Rosedale Beach Club to a paramedic for Penn Hills and White Oak. They believe he was truly living out his dream.

“He lived for other people, to help other people. No matter if he liked you or not, he was going to help people — that’s the kind of heart he had. He was always giving and always wanted to help people,” Scott said.

That makes this loss so much harder for this group.

“I don’t know if you’d find one person in the area that has ever met Nick that didn’t love Nick,” Saltzman said.

On Sunday night, Nick was driving a Penn Hills ambulance when it struck another vehicle in Shadyside. When Pittsburgh police got there, Nick was in cardiac arrest and died at the hospital.

“I think if Nick had to pick a way for him to go, this would be the scenario he wanted because that was his motto — giving in to others,” said Mary Chirdon.

As the shock starts to wear off, the community is rallying behind him and his family. They are also sharing all the good he did for them.

“He’s probably done more in his life than a person with his entire life in front of him, which says a lot about Nick and how he is viewed in our community,” Scott said.

There were two other people injured in the accident. Both are expected to survive.

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