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2 hurt after police chase of LAFD stolen ambulance

Wednesday, October 22, 2014  By Julie Cart
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A man being treated by paramedics stole a Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance and led police on a chase that ended in a traffic collision, sending two women to the hospital Sunday night.

Paramedics responded to a medical call in the 200 block of North San Pedro street in downtown L.A. about 6:30 p.m., and then the man drove off in the ambulance, according to the LAFD’s Katherine Main.

The paramedics were not in the ambulance at the time, Main said.

A fire engine also responding to the original call reported the stolen ambulance, Los Angeles police said.

Officers then began a pursuit that ended when the ambulance crashed into a vehicle at the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and  Union Avenue about 7:15,  according to Sgt. Gia Rueda of the LAPD.

Two women in the car were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Rueda said.

The suspect, whose name was not released, was taken into custody at the Rampart Station. 



No one injured in crash with ambulance - Maryland

Wednesday, October 22, 2014  EASTON — No one was injured in an accident involving an ambulance around 8 p.m. Sunday night at Dover and West streets in Easton, police said.

Police said Harvey Greenwald, 74, of New York, had stopped his minivan at the intersection of Dover Street and then headed across West Street.

A Talbot County Emergency Medical Services ambulance, which had just completed transportation and wasn’t carrying a patient, T-boned Greenwald’s vehicle as he drove across the street, police said.

Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene. Police said the van had functional damage and the ambulance had front end damage.

Although no injuries were apparent, the two emergency medical services workers, Marcus Flowers Jr., 57, of Fishing Creek, and Wylie Gray Jr., 55, of Cambridge, went to the emergency room afterward and were cleared.

Greenwald is charged with failing to yield the right of way.




One dead after ambulance, truck crash into car on the Northeast Side - San Antonio

Wednesday, October 22, 2014  By Mark Wilson

SAN ANTONIO — An ambulance was among three vehicles involved in a crash Thursday night that left one man dead on the Northeast Side.

According to the San Antonio Police Department, a Dodge Ram and Acadian ambulance had been headed west in the 6300 block of Rittiman Road just after 7 p.m. when a Toyota Corolla attempted a left turn across westbound lanes.

Police said the driver failed to yield the right of way to the vehicles and pulled out into their path.

Both the truck and ambulance crashed into the car in which Ross Goveia, 96, was a passenger.

Goveia was taken to the San Antonio Military Medical Center in critical condition following the accident.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. 



3 hospitalized after ambulance crash in Newton - Massachusetts

Wednesday, October 22, 2014  NEWTON, Mass. (WHDH) -An ambulance carrying one patient and two paramedics was driving through Newton Tuesday afternoon when it crashed into a utility pole.

Police say all three people on board were taken to Beth Israel as a precaution for minor, non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash happened just after 3 p.m. on Route 9 eastbound near Dudley Road. No other vehicles were involved.

One lane of the road was closed while crews worked to repair the damage. 




Wednesday, October 22, 2014  A man undergoing treatment for hallucination inside a Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance in downtown Los Angeles stole the emergency vehicle Sunday night, forcing two firefighter paramedics to jump out and an engine company to pursue.  

The firefighters were treating a patient at about 7 p.m. at Alameda and 3rd streets, when he pulled out his IV and ran out of the ambulance. The man reappeared a short time later, jumped into the ambulance and began driving away. The two firefighter paramedics quickly jumped out.

As per protocol, the ambulance was left running. 

The engine company followed the ambulance until LAPD officers arrived and took over the pursuit. About five minutes later, the ambulance crashed into a minivan at Union Place and Beverly Boulevard in the Rampart area of Los Angeles. 

The two people in the minivan suffered minor injuries. No firefighters were injured or involved in the crash, fire officials said.

"Initially it didn't make sense at all to anybody that the fire department was chasing one of its own vehicles," LAPD Lt. Theresa Coyle said. "As it became clear, gratefully no one was seriously injured."

The male suspect was arrested and is expected to face felony evading and carjacking charges.  



Accident Involving Ambulance in Easton - Maryland

Wednesday, October 22, 2014  EASTON, Md.- Easton police say a New York man faces charges after an ambulance crashed into his minivan at an intersection.

Police said that at around 8 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the intersection of Dover and West streets in reference to a motor vehicle accident. When officers arrived, police say they found a minivan with New York registration had been broadsided by a Talbot County EMS ambulance. Investigators said the minivan's driver, 74-year-old Harvey Greenwald, of New York, had stopped at the intersection then proceeded across West Street. It was then that the ambulance slammed into the side of the minivan, according to police. 

Authorities said the minivan sustained functional damage and the ambulance had front-end damage. Both vehicles were towed from the scene. Police said that while no injuries were apparent, both EMS workers, 57-year-old Marcus Flowers Jr., of Fishing Creek, and 55-year-old Wylie Gray Jr., of Cambridge, went to Memorial Hospital at Easton afterwards to be cleared by the ER.

Police said the ambulance had just completed a transport at the hospital and there were no patients on board during the accident. 

Investigators said Greenwald was charged with "failing to yield to the right of way." 



Pedestrians manage to cheat death after being caught up in crash - China

Sunday, October 19, 2014  Two pedestrians have managed to survive a crash between an ambulance and a car that sent them airborne and flying across the road in China.

CCTV from the intersection shows the moment the ambulance runs through a red light before clipping the back of a car. 

The impact sends the car spinning out of control before it hurtles towards the two pedestrians who are attempting to cross the road. 

The impact flings the pair into the air before they come to a rest a metre or so away from the scene of the crash. 

Miraculously the pair only sustained minor fractures in the incident.




Ambulance, Fire Truck Collide in Montgomery County - Maryland

Friday, October 17, 2014  A Montgomery County firefighter was seriously injured when a fire truck and ambulance crashed into each other while responding to a hazardous materials situation Thursday afternoon.

The crash occurred at Parkland Drive and Aspen Hill Road in Rockville.

The fire truck and ambulance were coming from different stations.

Five firefighters were evaluated and released; two others were being treated. One is in serious condition.

The road is closed during the investigation. 



Non-emergency American Ambulance overturns on Turnpike - Florida

Friday, October 17, 2014   ORLANDO, Fla. —A non-emergency ambulance overturned on the Florida Turnpike Wednesday afternoon.

The American Ambulance, which is not an emergency medical services vehicle, overturned near mile marker 254 in Orlando around 2:46 p.m.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the ambulance was traveling southbound near State Road 528 when a mattress came loose from a vehicle in front of the ambulance.

Troopers said the ambulance driver drove over the mattress, causing the vehicle to overturn on the driver's side.

Orange County Fire Rescue officials said one patient was inside at the time of the crash and was transported by another non-emergency ambulance that was at the scene.

Non-emergency ambulances are used to transport patients between facilities, officials said.

The roadway has been cleared.



Omaha woman punches paramedic treating her after accident, faces felony assault charge

Wednesday, October 15, 2014  OMAHA, Nebraska — Omaha police have arrested a woman who they say punched a paramedic in the face at the scene of a traffic accident.

Police say the 25-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday and faces a charge of felony assault of a health-care worker. They say the suspect was being treated when she punched the Omaha Fire Department paramedic.

Officers used a stun gun on the woman before her arrest.

No other details about the crash or the altercation were released.

She is being held at the Douglas County jail. Online records didn't indicate bond. 



Van ran into Danville ambulance - Pennsylvania

Wednesday, October 15, 2014  By Karen Blackledge

DANVILLE — A woman suffered an arm injury when she pulled out in front of a Danville ambulance Tuesday morning in Danville, according to police.

Police said a Danville ambulance was heading west on Center Street from Geisinger Medical Center when an Odyssey minivan struck the bottom side of the right box of the ambulance.

The accident at 7:30 a.m. resulted in part of the bumper being ripped off the minivan, operated by Salma Mustafa, 52, of 106 Woodland Drive.

She told Patrolman Jacob Walker she would seek treatment for an arm injury.

Nobody from the ambulance crew was injured.

Walker said Mustafa was on Cherry Street and pulled into the path of the ambulance.

The vehicles were moved to the lot of the Goodwill Hose Company while Walker investigated.

Walker said Mustafa will be cited for a stop sign violation.

Danville fire police assisted with traffic control. 



Mercy ambulance crashes in Springfield - Missouri

Wednesday, October 15, 2014  A crash involving an ambulance and a pickup slowed traffic on Tuesday afternoon near Sunshine Street at Jefferson Avenue.  The westbound ambulance had no patient on board when it ran into the back of the pickup at the traffic signal in front of Sunshine Elementary School.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m.  Sonya Kullman, a spokeswoman for Mercy, said one of the EMTs on the ambulance was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.



Ambulance responds to head-on collision but gets hit on the way - Iowa

Wednesday, October 15, 2014  By Jack Cullen

A Medic EMS ambulance was struck Monday afternoon near the intersection of Spruce Hills Drive and Summit Hills Drive, Bettendorf, while responding to a head-on collision nearby, officials said.

The original accident, which occurred in one of the eastbound lanes on Spruce Hills Drive, called for the ambulance to respond although there were no injuries.

En route to the scene, the ambulance, which was traveling west, attempted to perform a U-turn from the right outside lane when a motorist tried to pass the ambulance on the left, but collided with the emergency vehicle, Bettendorf Police Capt. Keith Kimball said.

No one was injured from either accident, but the motorist who hit the first responder received a citation for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

“When an emergency vehicle has its lights on, you have to pull over, stop and yield no matter what it’s doing,” Kimball said.

A portion of Spruce Hills Drive east of Utica Ridge Road was closed while Bettendorf Police and fire crews assessed the scene.

The motorists involved in the original two-car accident drove away from the scene in their vehicles, while Bettendorf Police escorted the silver Chrysler convertible that hit the ambulance away from the scene.

The ambulance received damage to the front driver side of the emergency vehicle, Paul Andorf, information systems manager for Medic Ems, said.

“In the ambulance world, you see this occasionally, but I’m not sure when it last happened to us,” Andorf added. "It's unusual and that was a bad place for that to happen."

The highest frequency of accidents involving ambulances occurs when the emergency vehicle is reversing because of the lack of sight, but intersection crashes hold the most severe outcomes, said Dr. Nadine Levick.

Levick, of New York, is founder of the EMS Safety Foundation and chairwoman of the Transportation Research Board’s EMS safety subcommittee, part of the National Academies that advise Congress.

“What we do know is that intersection crashes are the most common crash that occurs during an emergency response,” she said. 



How an ambulance crash defined an EMS agency’s care - Minnesota

Wednesday, October 15, 2014  By John Becknell

When the leadership team of Minnesota-based Allina Health EMS was awakened in the early-morning hours of Jan. 18, with the news that one of their ambulances had been involved in a devastating head-on collision they knew how they would respond. 

Their actions were guided by a deep understanding of what matters to them, a desire to show how they cared in a big way, and a determination to stay ahead of storytelling about the event.  

Just after 1 a.m. the ambulance was transporting without lights and siren a stable medical patient on a rural, two-lane highway when it collided head-on with an SUV. The impact ripped apart the SUV and destroyed the ambulance.

The lone occupant of the SUV suffered multiple traumatic injuries. The attending paramedic was unresponsive with a severe head injury. The lower extremities of the EMT driving were crushed.

The only uninjured person — the medical patient on the stretcher — placed a desperate call for help with the injured paramedic's cell phone.

Other ambulances quickly responded. By the time the leadership team learned of the event, the driver of the SUV and ambulance crew were on their way to area hospitals.          

'We'll show you how much we care'

Allina Health EMS is the medical transportation arm of a $3.4 billion not-for-profit hospital and clinical corporation headquartered in the Twin Cities. Allina's EMS operations serve more than 100 communities throughout Minnesota, with 570 employees responding to more than 90,000 calls per year.

Regional Director of Operations Kevin Miller received the initial call and immediately headed for the hospitals where the critical patients had been transported. On the way he contacted other team members.

Their top priorities were:

  • Ensuring the injured were getting the best possible care and support.
  • Notifying and informing families.
  • Assuring the rest of the Allina staff were informed and enlisted to help as needed. Allina EMS President Brian LaCroix was in Arizona at the National Association of EMS Physicians’ conference and immediately prepared to return to Minnesota.
Miller started notifying families of the injured and convened a leadership team conference call to make certain that Allina's response was coordinated, honest, transparent, generous, and reflected how much the organization truly cares about its employees and its patients.

Five months earlier, during a two-day leadership retreat, the Allina EMS team had wrestled with what distinguishes their organization and them as leaders. In sorting through the usual litany of lofty corporate values, they had recognized that a deep sense of caring was really at the soul of their organization.

They noticed that the highest levels of inspiration, motivation, and satisfaction came when field staff and leaders had opportunity to demonstrate caring.

Their discussion at the retreat led them to talk about the myriad of uncontrollable factors in emergency medical work, including the nature of the call, the severity of a patient's clinical presentation, the location of a patient, the socio-economics and politics of health care, and the challenges facing their large hospital-oriented parent company.

The discussion also touched on how much Allina could control, such as how they treated employees, patients, families and communities. They wanted all their relationships to be characterized by an overt demonstration of caring.

Toward the end of the retreat, Twin Cities Operations Director Jeff Czyson summarized what mattered in a single declarative phrase, "We'll show you how much we care." The phrase stuck and as the retreat concluded, the team committed to living out that declaration in the coming year.  

Whatever it takes

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Allina's leadership team had ample opportunity to demonstrate caring in a big way. They ensured the injured were supported, providing practical support to families in terms of companionship, medical information, accident information, emotional support, transportation, food, lodging and simple errand-running.

"We decided to do whatever it took," LaCroix said. "We didn't know the details about what had caused the accident and that wasn't our first concern. We wanted everyone to know we were there to help. Cost wasn't a primary concern."

The team offered support and full information to the family of the SUV driver who was in critical condition and later died. The family of paramedic Brian Nagel, also in critical condition, needed to travel from another part of the country. Czyson, Miller and other Allina staff stayed with Nagel until family arrived.

In addition, Allina provided a uniformed EMS provider to stay at the hospital for as long as was needed to be available to support and assist the family in any way. Allina helped Nagel's family publicize a Caringbridge website that brought thousands of wishes of support and prayer from around the world.

EMT Tim Daly's lower extremity injuries were severe and would confine him to a wheelchair for months. In addition to supporting Daly and family during his hospital stay, Allina employees immediately began helping Daly's family prepare his home for a wheelchair. Ordinary tasks like transportation, medical equipment, meals and encouragement became an organization-wide project.

News of the crash was quickly reported by local media, but not before the leadership team helped to guide the story to be about the injured and their need for support.

Contrary to the common corporate practice of saying little about an event until all the facts are known and public relations and legal departments have been consulted, LaCroix took a risk and within hours of the accident began providing information about the event to his entire staff through public Facebook postings.

The initial posting spoke frankly about the crash. Nagel was unconscious and in intensive care and his prognosis uncertain. Nagel's family wanted people to know what was going on, that Nagel was in need of support and prayer, and they wanted LaCroix to get the word out.

Rather than wait for the usual corporate news release, he moved quickly and communicated from the heart through Facebook. When local media picked up the story, they quoted from LaCroix’s posts. The quotes helped focus the story on the care and support of those who were suffering, which Allina has continued throughout the year.

Neither of the crew members have returned to full duty. After five days in a coma Nagel woke up, and has continued to make progress in recovering from a severe TBI. Daly has had several surgeries and is regaining use of his legs and feet.

"This has been a team effort," LaCroix said "Everyone in our organization has stepped up. It's been amazing to see how much people really care."



Arlington Hts. recovers stolen ambulance 150 miles later - Illinois

Saturday, October 11, 2014  Under the cover of darkness, police say, Samantha Sligar slipped out of Northwest Community Hospital and into the driver's seat of an idling and unlocked ambulance.

Two Arlington Heights paramedics had wheeled a patient on a gurney into the emergency room and were restocking their supplies about 4 a.m. Friday as, police said, Sligar was making away with ambulance No. 4.

Two hours later and some 150 miles away, the ambulance was disabled alongside Interstate 57, and Rantoul, Illinois, police were handcuffing Sligar and taking her into custody. She told them she was going to her job at a St. Louis department store, according to police, but also that she considered going to Marion, Illinois. She said her car and her wallet had been stolen.

By all accounts what happened in between was one wild ride.

According to authorities, the Arlington Heights paramedics realized in less than 20 minutes their ambulance had been stolen. An alert went out, and Rolling Meadows police were the first to spot it, trailing the ambulance to Roselle Road where it then got onto eastbound I-90.

Squad cars from multiple departments followed the ambulance on I-90. Whether they voluntarily ended their chase in order to let the Illinois State Police take it over or they lost the ambulance is unclear.

At 4:40 a.m., an emergency alert went out. Police in south suburban Matteson located the ambulance heading south on I-57, but Sligar disregarded their command to pull over, according to a state police spokeswoman.

Further down the line, both Manteno police and Kankakee County officers each tried unsuccessfully to stop the ambulance, which by various accounts was recklessly speeding down Interstate 57, police said, running vehicles off the road with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Authorities treated her carefully, not wanting to precipitate an accident. At one point, Sligar eluded Illinois State Police at 80 miles an hour with the ambulance's lights flashing, authorities said.

But as the ambulance approached the Ford/Champaign county line, authorities had to act. Troopers who were supposed to pick up the chase there were instead at a serious accident at milepost 211 involving several semitrailer trucks. Traffic was at a standstill behind it.

"We didn't want her to get there in that mess," Rantoul police Lt. Jeffrey Wooten said.

Rantoul police spread stop sticks, or spike sticks, across the southbound interstate. The sticks puncture tires and let the air out of them slowly, to limit the likelihood of rollovers.

The spikes shredded the ambulance's front left tire, but Sligar continued to drive awhile, police said, finally bumping to a stop at about milepost 250.

Rantoul police arrested her without incident, they said, and locked her up inside the police station. They asked her why she didn't pull over when police told her to.

"You have good cops, you got bad cops," she told them, according to the report.

"She was cooperative, but part of the story that she provided seemed illogical," Wooten said.

Sligar was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and driving on a suspended license, Rantoul police said. According to the Champaign County Correctional Center, her last address was Jacksonville, Florida, but she gave police a Minneapolis address.

Sligar is due in Champaign County bond court Saturday morning.

Arlington Heights police said she had been admitted to Northwest Community Hospital on Thursday just before midnight, but they would not say why, citing privacy regulations.

Once Rantoul police have completed their investigation, Arlington Heights will consider whether to pursue charges locally, Capt. Mike Hernandez said.

Meanwhile, at Northwest Community Hospital, "a full internal investigation into the matter has already begun," hospital spokeswoman Alice Brown said.

Fire department officials said they will review their policy, standard at many departments, of leaving untended ambulances running in the designated parking areas outside emergency room entrances.

"We were in the right place at the wrong time," said Arlington Heights Deputy Fire Chief Peter Ahlman, who was awakened about 4:18 a.m. with the news an ambulance was stolen.

Ahlman drove to the hospital to talk to the two paramedics, who finished the rest of their shift on a reserve.

"It's pretty hard to rattle us," he said. "Our main concern was getting that ambulance back in service so the village was covered appropriately."

On Friday, Arlington Heights public works crews retrieved the ambulance and made repairs -- including replacing the front tire and rim -- before getting it back to the fire station at 3030 N. Arlington Heights Road. 



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