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What an old photo means

POSTED: July 3, 2017 6:30 p.m.
File photo by Lewis Levine/

Emergency personnel carry a baby to a waiting helicopter.

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Over the past 17 years of shooting photos for newspapers and video for television I’ve had photos that have left an indelible impression on me.

One photo was taken when Leroy Coffer Highway was a two lane road and considered the county’s "roadway to hell" because of the number of accidents on it. A number of lives were also lost on that shortcut to Savannah, not so much because the road was at fault, but because drivers were impatient.

I can’t remember what day it was, but I do recall it was a weekend afternoon, as usual I was listening to my police scanner for anything of interest when a report came over the emergency medical band of a two-car accident near a service station.

Jumping into my vehicle I hightailed it to the scene because by the stress I detected in the 911 dispatcher’s voice it sounded like a bad one, and it was an horrific scene.

Car parts, as well as injured victims, were scattered throughout the area.

I watched as firefighters and emergency medical personnel tended to the injured, and to be honest this is something I’ve witnessed hundreds of times over the years.

In the chaos that surrounded me as I shot still photos I noticed medical personnel tending to an infant in the back of an ambulance.

It was determined by the personnel on scene the baby was going to have to be flown to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah because of the injuries the child sustained.

I’m not identifying the sex because I can’t recall if the baby was a boy or girl. When the emergency medical air evacuation helicopter arrived, the baby was prepped for the flight to Savannah.

Grabbing my camera I started to shoot photos of the transfer from the medical personnel who took care of this child to the helicopter medical technician.

The baby’s head was wrapped in a bandage and secured to a backboard. There was also a brace around the tiny neck.

I continued shooting as the baby was gently handed to the helicopter medic as the three on site emergency medical personnel looked lovingly at the infant who was apparently unconscious. I don’t know what happened to the baby, whether it sustained serious injures or even if it made it, though I hope it did.

No, in the photo of the baby being handed off to the helicopter medical personnel, the thing that has stayed with me over the years was the look of concern on their faces. That said it all.

Levine covers public safety and the occasional president for the Courier and area TV stations.

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