Crawford County Rescue Squad Captain Randy Cox's death Saturday night as the result of a motorcycle accident is a "great loss to this county," according to one colleague and many others who worked with him.
According to Illinois State Police report at around 5:11 p.m. Saturday, Cox, 58, Robinson, was eastbound on Illinois Route 33 near Crawford County Road 100E just west of Oblong. Cox was on the large curve and some how lost control of the 1979 Harley-Davidson motorcycle he was riding, overcorrected and started to skid off the south side of the roadway. The motorcycle flipped several times before coming to rest in the ditch. Cox was thrown from the motorcycle and came to rest next to it.
Cox was flown to Regional Hospital, Terre Haute, were he later died from injuries sustained in the accident.
Cox's death leaves a large gap in the local emergency services community, according to those who worked with him.
"He will be greatly missed," Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Bradley Midgett said. "It will leave a big hole in the squad. He trained a lot of guys over the years."
Cox was especially skilled at dealing with high-risk and confined spaces, having trained both rescue squad members and other workers at Marathon.
Squad Lieutentant Greg Newlin said Cox saved - and will continue to save - many lives through his training.
"He was a mentor for a lot of the young guys coming up through the squad," Newlin said, adding if Cox did not have an answer to a question, he would find it.
"The people and his men were always No. 1 with him," he said. "He was a great mentor and a great friend, an all-around great guy. This is a great loss to this county."
According to the Robinson Police Department Facebook page, Cox served the citizens of Crawford County for more than 30 years as an "active and passionate" member of the emergency services. He was the Crawford County Rescue Squad captain for many years and president of the Robinson Fire Protection District Board.
Previously, he was a Robinson police commissioner, a volunteer firefighter with the Robinson Fire Department and an EMT with Mercy Ambulance Service and United Life Care.
"More times than not, when there was an emergency in Crawford County, Randy would be there in some capacity," Bryan Danks said on the RPD Facebook page. "His desire to contribute to those in need, and usually for no pay, was commendable. This dedication to service was an example for his son, Dan Cox, who is a full-time firefighter for the Robinson Fire Protection District.
"I like to say that we in emergency services wear different uniforms but play on the same team," Danks added. "This loss is being felt throughout all local emergency services. The Robinson Police Department would like to extend our condolences to Randy's sons Dan and Darin, and all of Randy's other family and friends."
Recently-retired Robinson Police Sergeant Dave Marqua and retired police officer K.P. Pryor both worked with Cox as as an EMT in their early careers and as police officers.
"Of course me being a young EMT, Randy was always a blessing to work with," said Marqua on a Facebook post.
"There wasn't anything he didn't know about. You name it he's done it and he could fix everything," he added. "We always wondered how he knew so much! It didn't matter if he was BS'ing us, he pulled it off!"
"Randy was such a great friend and would help you with anything," Pryor said. "He was so good to work with because he was smart and it seemed like he could just do anything. He was great to work with on-scene because he never got excited or lost focus on the job."
Pryor's father, former county EMA director Ken Pryor, also praised Cox. "I always liked working with him," he said.
A time of visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Goodwine Funeral Home in Robinson. A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 29, at the funeral home with Pastor J.D. Branson officiating the service. Burial will be in the Oak Grove Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Crawford County Rescue Squad, with envelopes available at the funeral home.