By Lawrence Powell
A 39-year-old Annapolis County firefighter, described as a guy who would give you the shirt off his back, died of injuries sustained in a head-on crash early Thursday morning on Highway 101 between Lawrencetown and Bridgetown.
Steven Bent, husband and father of three, died at 14 Wing Greenwood just as his LifeFlight fixed-wing aircraft flight to hospital in Halifax was about to take off. EHS has confirmed a patient died at 14 Wing before transport.
RCMP media spokesperson Sgt. Brigdit Leger said last Thursday a man driving a westbound Intrepid crossed into the eastbound lane and collided head on with a Honda Civic driven by a 60-year-old Digby woman. The crash occurred at about 7:45 a.m.
The highway was closed and traffic was being rerouted at Exit 19 in Lawrencetown and Exit 20 at Bridgetown.
Both were the only occupants of their respective vehicles and both were entrapped and had to be extricated using the jaws of life. Firefighters from Bridgetown and Lawrencetown responded.
The two injured drivers were first taken to Soldiers Memorial Hospital and the woman was airlifted to Halifax by Cormorant helicopter to Shearwater and by ground ambulance to the QE II. Leger said the male driver suffered from life-threatening injuries while the woman was considered to have serious injuries. Leger said late Thursday afternoon that the 60-year-old Digby woman was still in hospital.
The highway was reopened to traffic at about 1 p.m. Thursday. Leger said RCMP members are continuing their investigation to determine the cause of the collision.
Bent, who lived on Brinton Road, Port Lorne, worked at Michelin and was a member of the Port Lorne Volunteer Fire Department since 1991.
Hilliard Ewing, fellow Port Lorne firefighter, and president of the Annapolis County Firefighters Association, posted this on his Facebook page:
“A family, a community, and a fire department are mourning the loss of a great guy, Steven Bent. Our thoughts are with Steven's family at this difficult time. Rest in Peace Captain Bent.”
Another fellow firefighter, Roger Walker, said “Rest in Peace Steven William Bent, may God be with your family during this time of grief.”
“As a firefighter he was one of our most devoted members,” Ewing, a former chief of the department and fellow captain with Bent said in an interview. “Anything asked he was there for you. He was the type of guy who’d literally give you the shirt off his back.”
Ewing said Bent was particularly proud of bringing his oldest son into the fire service and he suspects Bent left fishing to be more of a 9 to 5 guy and spend more time with his family.
Ewing said Bent’s tragic death marks the first loss of an active member for the department. He described Port Lorne as a very tight-knit community and said support for the Bent family is high.
A firefighter’s funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Middleton Funeral Home with interment at the cemetery in Port Lorne. A Port Lorne fire truck will be in the procession. There will be a reception at the Port Lorne Fire Department.
Steven Bent is survived by his wife Norva, three children, and a grandchild.