VALPARAISO — One of two Superior Ambulance employees killed Sunday in a crash in Valparaiso made helping others her mission in life, family members said.
Jaclyn Nauracy, 26, of Schererville, and Nicholas Branham, 36, of Valparaiso, died after an SUV driver pulled in front of the motorcycle they were riding Sunday at Ind. 130 and Froberg Road, authorities said.
Nauracy worked as an emergency medical technician for Superior Ambulance and a volunteer EMT for the Lake Hills Volunteer Fire Department, where she was planning to become a firefighter, her younger brother Adam Nauracy said.
"I've never met anybody more loving than her," he said. "She was very giving. She cared about everybody else a lot more than she cared about herself."
Branham also served as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic at the South Haven Fire Department. He had joined within the last month, Lt. Halie Wise said.
Heather Wright, a registered nurse with Franciscan Health Hammond, said Branham previously worked with her as a emergency room paramedic at Franciscan Health. She described him as energetic and hard working.
"He was a terrific medic. He always talked about his daughter, Alyssa. She was the light of his life," Wright said.
Branham and Jaclyn Nauracy were riding a Harley-Davidson Road Glide motorcycle east on Ind. 130 about 3:45 p.m. when the driver of a white Cadillac Escalade going south on Froberg pulled into their path, officials said.
In an effort to avoid the Escalade, Branham laid the motorcycle down, Porter County Chuck Harris said. Nauracy died at the scene from blunt force injuries.
Branham was taken to Porter Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 4:30 p.m., Harris said.
The woman driving the Escalade was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said.
Valparaiso police are still investigating the crash. Valparaiso Fire/EMS and the Porter County Sheriff's Department assisted at the crash scene.
A recent Times computer-assisted probe of fatal roadway accident data revealed 61 people died in motorcycle-related crashes in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties over five years.
Motorcycles ranked number three, just behind semis, for the type of vehicle most likely to be involved in fatal crashes in our Region.
Jaclyn Nauracy also worked for a time providing applied behavior analysis therapy for special needs children, her brother said. She used to bring baked goods to local fire and police departments as a way of supporting other people who helped.
"She was always just helping people," Adam Nauracy said. "She really did not care about what kind of money she was making. She really just cared about 'Can I make somebody's life better?'" he said.
Lake Hills Fire Chief Shane Adams said Nauracy joined the department July 1 and was preparing to start the fire academy next month.
"Everybody loved her," he said. "All she wanted to do was help other people."
Adams said his members are taking Nauracy's death rough, and he planned to reach out to each to check in with them, he said. Services are available for those in need.
Adams also planned to work with Nauracy's family to pay her tribute during funeral services. Firefighters will attend in full dress, he said.
Members planned to put up bunting honoring Nauracy on Monday afternoon.
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