Silsbee firefighter hit and killed while working wreck

By Dannie Oliveaux |

The investigation continues into the death of a long-time Silsbee volunteer firefighter who was struck by a vehicle while working an accident on Aug. 2, according to Silsbee Police Chief Waylan Rhodes.

Rhodes said Silsbee Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Jay Hinkie, along with other emergency personnel, responded to a rollover accident on FM 418, just east of U.S. 96 Business.

Hinkie, 61, was walking back to his vehicle when he was struck by a motorist, Rhodes said.

“We are still not clear where the assistant fire chief was standing when he was struck by the vehicle. We are still trying to get the facts together,” Rhodes said.

He said the female driver that struck Hinkie, then pulled over to the side of the road.

“An officer went to her vehicle and meet with her. She was hysterical and distraught,” Rhodes said.

He said emergency personnel performed CPR on Hinkie while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

He was transported to Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth in Beaumont where he later died.

“It was so tragic,” said Silsbee VFD Chief Robin Jones.

He said Hinkie and some of his fellow volunteer firemen were working an accident.

“We were actually through and had gathered up everything from the road, and fixing to get out of there.” Jones said. “He was walking back to his truck and he was more less in the center of the road. I guess someone was looking off and was traveling a little bit faster than they should have. It’s hard to blame anybody.”

Jones said Hinkie headed up the annual fireworks show and helped organized with the Chamber of Commerce the Christmas Parade every year.

“Everybody in the community knew Jay. He’s been around Silsbee his whole life,” said Jones. “He dealt with the schools a lot and when to the schools a couple times a year to teach fire safety. All the kids knew him as ‘Firefighter Jay.’”

Jones said he had known Hinkie most of his life and both attended Silsbee High School.

“He was a year ahead of me in school and we knew each other,” he noted. “We want to the same church together for several years.”

Flags were flown at half staff for Hinkie.

Firefighters from Lumberton and Kountze responded to call while the department was mourning, according to Silsbee Volunteer Fire Department District Chief Vince McClammy said.

See more in the Aug. 9 issue of The Silsbee Bee.

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