Submit Your Close Call / Near Miss
Friday, November 1, 2013
By Marla CarterTULSA - Cutting down on the number of ambulance accidents is one reason why EMSA says it needs to extend how long it takes an ambulance to get to an emergency.It was 3:00 in the morning, and Jeanie Crone woke up to a nightmare."I'd awaken from a deep sleep. My breathing was suddenly irregular," said Jeanie Crone.She was frightened."Just not being able to breath was probably the most frightening and feeling like you were going to pass out at any time," said Jeanie.Her husband called 911. Firefighters and EMSA paramedics soon arrived."They had determined that my heart was racing at 200 beats a minute at that point," she said.Jeanie was rushed to the hospital. Time was critical and she says her ride could have taken even longer if the ambulance had gotten into an accident on the way.The 2NEWS Investigators pored over accident data and found over the past two and a half years EMSA paramedics have had 123 collisions with other vehicles in Green Country.EMSA field supervisor Jason Whitlow says that's because ambulances are on the road a lot."Hundreds of thousands of miles, as a fleet, we drive, pretty easily. So the odds are just sheer bad luck you're going to get into an accident," said Whitlow.There are 45 ambulances in the EMSA fleet. The entire fleet averages 750,000 miles per year. On average an ambulance is in an accident with another car every 15,000 miles.Of those accidents, 70% of the time the ambulance wasn't running lights and sirens."A lot of those as we call, as you call, accidents are when a car backs into us or pulls out in front of us, like a normal deal," said Stephen Williamson, the CEO of EMSA.We asked Whitlow why EMSA needed to extend its ambulance response times when only 30% of the accidents were with lights and sirens."Those 30%, those accidents tend to be a little more severe, and I think that's probably why. These trucks are big. They're heavy. They don't stop on a dime, and they're very strong vehicles. They tend to do a lot of damage if they hit something," said Whitlow.Like an accident that happened on Brookside last year.According to the police report, the ambulance driver told officers he, "Activated the ambulance's emergency lights and sirens, then made a right-hand turn." The report went on to say as the ambulance was making a turn, it hit the Mustang.But that's not what witness Kris Boyne says he saw. He says he was walking down the road when the ambulance hit the car."He had no where to go. The ambulance was coming into his lane," said Boyne, talking about the driver of the Mustang.And that part about lights and sirens, Kris said, "There were no lights and sirens engaged at the time that I witnessed."The 2NEWS Investigators wanted to know how other cities stack up when it comes to ambulance accidents.We found the ambulance service in Wichita, Kan. has had just three collisions with other vehicles from January through September of this year. That compares to at least 38 collisions in the Tulsa area for the same time frame.EMSA says its numbers are higher because they believe they are busier."I know our call volume tends to be higher than cities of a comparable size, by a tremendous amount actually," said Whitlow.The 2NEWS Investigators looked into it, and we found EMSA does respond to more calls. EMSA averages 68,000 a year, while Wichita averages 56,000, that's a difference of 18%. Still, this year EMSA drivers have been in 12 times as many accidents with other vehicles compared to Wichita.The director for the Wichita ambulance service attributes its low number of accidents to its policy. Ambulance drivers can only drive 10 miles an hour over the speed limit in an emergency, and if they drive faster than that, their supervisor will know it. GPS in the ambulance sends an e-mail to the supervisor every time the ambulance goes more than ten miles an hour over the speed limit in the city. The director says traveling at that rate reduces accidents and only adds two minutes to to their drive. Also, their response times stand at 8:59 for emergencies, that's what Tulsa's was before it was increased by two minutes.As for EMSA, it has a box in its ambulances that sounds off when an ambulance driver makes a mistake, such as a driver turning too sharply. EMSA also has three to five days of driving training for new employees. Whitlow says EMSA also conducts classroom driving training two to three times every year. Again, EMSA hopes increasing response times will bring down its number of accidents.Plus, Whitlow says he's now examining each ambulance accident."Each time we have an accident we need to sit down with that employee and anybody else involved and say what was going on when it happened," he said.Jeanie can't imagine what would've happened if the ambulance that was on its way to her had crashed."The longer your heart beats at 200 beats a minute the better your chances of having a stroke," said Jeanie.EMSA says it will work to get to calls quicker than 10 minutes and 59 seconds, its new response time requirement.The change means that ambulances must get to calls within that time 90% of the time or the ambulance provider could face fines.As far as the accidents go, the 2NEWS Investigators will track them to see if these new response times do cause the number of accidents to go down.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Written byArek Sarkissian IIAn ambulance driver was suspended without pay for his role in a Sept. 5 collision with another vehicle and the family of a critically injured woman intends to file a lawsuit against Leon County Emergency Medical Services.A Leon County EMS ambulance driven by Paramedic Benjamin K. Hunter rushed to a head-on collision at West Tharpe Street and Old Bainbridge Road with lights and sirens and smashed into a Buick sport utility vehicle at the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard intersection.Front-seat passenger Angela Sanford suffered collapsed lungs, a broken pelvis, liver damage and a ruptured bladder as a result of the crash, according to Leon County Sheriff’s Office reports. Back seat passenger Daniel McNair broke two bones in his left hand. Driver Patrick Sanford told deputies at the scene he only had scrapes and bruises but later reported undergoing surgery to mend a back injury.A Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigation determined the Buick traveling on MLK had a green light at West Tharpe and the westbound ambulance had a red light. Although Hunter was driving the ambulance to an emergency, Leon County policy requires him to stop at red lights and look both ways.“Though Mr. Hunter was operating with his lights and sirens activated, his traffic light was red,” Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Gaines wrote in a report on the crash. “In this instance, it is Mr. Hunter’s (responsibility) to ensure that he slows to a safe speed in order to make sure that the intersection is safe and clear before proceeding.“I find Mr. Hunter is at fault in this crash.”Leon County EMS Chief Tom Quillin said Hunter will be suspended for three days without pay and ordered to complete a refresher course on driver safety.Quillin said he waited to hand down the punishment until the crash investigation was completed.Hunter will not face any criminal charges or traffic infractions from the crash.A copy of a Leon EMS safety manual addresses protocol for red lights: “After ascertaining that all other traffic has yielded to the emergency vehicle, the vehicle may proceed through the intersection with due regard for the safety of others.”Dash-camera video from the ambulance showed the $199,161 county-owned vehicle cross the intersection without a stop. The sheriff’s office report said the ambulance activated its sirens on Tharpe about 300 feet east of the intersection and hit the Buick at a speed of 44 mph.The Buick was traveling at 43 mph and the force of the crash crushed its passenger side.Tallahassee Attorney Hal Lewis earlier this week filed a letter with the Florida Department of Financial Services announcing the Sanfords’ plan to sue Leon County. The couple has three boys; two teenagers and a baby.In a statement provided by Lewis, Sanford, an FBI agent, said his wife will go through rehabilitation for the next year.“It has been incredibly hard on our whole family and especially our three young children,” Sanford wrote. “They had to see their mother in ICU in a coma and a full body cast for days, never knowing whether or not she would be alive in the morning.”Leon County Administrator Vince Long offered thoughts and prayers for the Sanfords but declined comment on pending litigation.“There are inherent risks associated with our emergency medical response and it's a very tough job for our first responders,” Long said. “Fortunately, accidents like these are rare, but we take them very seriously and go to great lengths to learn from all of them.”Hunter’s personnel file showed he started with Leon County EMS as an emergency medical technician in June 2010. He was convicted of drunken driving in May 2007 but county policy only scrutinizes offenses committed within three years of a hiring date. Since then, he was cited for speeding and disobeying a traffic device.During on-the-job instruction, Leon County EMS trainer Brett Davidson wrote of Hunter, “(Benjamin) has continued to show improvement and a strong desire to learn throughout his shifts — Looking forward to him obtaining his paramedic license and being a part of the team.”Two wrecks; same concertHunter was driving to a crash that occurred about 11 p.m. after a Jeep SUV occupied by four people who left a concert by country singer Jason Aldean, made a left from Old Bainbridge onto West Tharpe and collided with a southbound Chrysler sedan. A total of five people from both vehicles were transported via ambulance and one of them was thought to be seriously injured, according to a Tallahassee police report.The driver of the Chrysler was arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended license and unrelated warrants. Fault was never determined due to a lack of witnesses, the TPD report stated.The Sanfords had left the same concert at the Tallahassee-Leon Civic Center when the Buick and ambulance crashed about a half hour after the Old Bainbridge wreck. Hunter’s ambulance was initially directed to the first collision at normal traffic pace but that later was upgraded to emergency. In response, ambulance sirens were activated and Hunter increased its speed from 29 mph to 44 mph as he approached the MLK intersection, according to the sheriff’s office report.After the MLK crash, Pat Sanford climbed from the wrecked Buick and spoke with arriving TPD officers. They turned the case over to the sheriff’s office, which is an independent agency defined by the state constitution.No charges filedThe case was reviewed and cleared by the office of State Attorney Willie Meggs. Emails sent earlier this month between sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Barrow and Assistant State Attorney Brian Miller indicate no criminal or civil traffic charges will be filed against Hunter or Sanford. Deputies at the scene had determined Sanford was not inebriated.“The State Attorney’s Office supports and agrees with your decision to not criminally charge either Benjamin Hunter or Patrick Sanford,” Miller wrote to Barrow. “The State Attorney’s Office also supports and agrees with your decision to not compel a blood draw of Patrick Sanford for a DUI investigation because there was not probable cause to support such a blood draw given the lack of indicators for alcohol impairment.”
Friday, November 1, 2013
A man was killed when he was struck by an ambulance in north Northumberland.The pedestrian, aged in his 50s, died at the scene of the crash on the southbound carriageway of the A1 near Haggerston.Paramedics were called at about 19:00 GMT. The victim has not yet been identified.Both lanes of the major route have been closed between the B6353 and B6525, and diversions for drivers have been put in place.
Friday, November 1, 2013
AN ambulance on its way to a medical emergency was involved in a crash with two cars.The vehicle was one of two ambulances attending the emergency when the incident occurred in Ffrith, Flintshire shortly before 8am on Monday.A third ambulance then had to be sent out to take a woman in her 20s from the scene of the collision to hospital.The other ambulance on its way to the medical emergency was not affected by the accident and arrived at the address to which it was called.North Wales Police also attended the accident.A spokeswoman for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 7.56am to a medical emergency at an address in Cymau, near Wrexham, and sent two ambulances. While en route, one was involved in a minor collision with two cars on Minera Road in Ffrith.“A back-up ambulance was dispatched to the scene of the collision, and a woman in her 20s was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital for a precautionary check-up.”She added: “The ambulance involved was checked over and is now back in operational use.“The other ambulance dispatched to the medical emergency in Cymau arrived at the address, and was not impeded in any way.”A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said officers were called at 8.10am and that enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of the incident.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
by Karen ZatkulakBOISE -- The driver involved in an accident with an ambulance is apologizing to the crash victims and their families.Sam McCartney admits he crashed into the ambulance on Highway 95 on Oct. 22.The accident sent two volunteer EMTs to the hospital, and both are still in critical condition.Idaho State Police say there are no charges in the accident yet, but they expect some will be filed once the investigation is complete.ISP says two cars yielded to the oncoming ambulance, pulling over to the side of the road, but the driver of the third car couldn't slow down in time."I glanced off of him and it put me in the oncoming lane, and that's when the ambulance came up over the hill," said McCartney.McCartney was emotional as he described the moments before his car slammed into the ambulance near Cambridge.He says he never saw the lights or heard the sirens because a hill blocked his view of oncoming traffic."I'm not going to point the blame on anyone, this was wrong place, wrong time," said McCartney.Two Council EMTs treating a patient in the back of the ambulance were both hurt and rushed to the hospital.70-year-old John Dickinson and 62-year-old Sandy Sova are still in critical condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.McCartney says he's felt terrible about the accident ever since."I'm just absolutely torn up over this and I'm so sorry to the families of Sandra and Jonathon, I wish you all the best," said McCartney.Sova's daughter, Kelly Ross, is an EMT as well. She says this brings about a bigger issue of drivers not being cautious around emergency vehicles."I've been in the back of the ambulance many times, we've had people tailgate us, people pass us, a couple times when people pull out right in front of us," said Ross.She hopes this serves as a reminder to everyone to be careful around the lives of those trying to save lives."We've seen people with far less injuries than they had and they don't make it, so very, very lucky," said Ross.Ross says her mother's condition has improved. She's hoping she will be out of the ICU in the next few days.
Monday, October 28, 2013
(CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Two men are charged with aggravated battery after allegedly attacking a Chicago Fire Department paramedic.On Friday evening a paramedic was treating a patient near Clark and Bryn Mawr in the Andersonville neighborhood. That's when 31-year-old Daniel Delgado allegedly punched the paramedic in the chest.Twenty-four-year-old Hector Moreno then reportedly ran from across the street and tried to punch another paramedic.Sunday a judge set bond for both men at $150,000.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
By KATIE TERHUNE — email@example.comCouncil EMS, which boasts a crew of 16 people, doesn't have much of a budget. So Sandra Sova of Mesa and Jon Dickinson of Council are paid for a portion of their shifts and volunteer the rest of the time.To the pair, it doesn't matter."They were just people who cared. That's why they did the job," Council EMS Director Dan Huter said. "That's what it takes to be an EMT. You see (patients) at their worst time, and you do the best you can for each person."On Tuesday, Sova, 62, and Dickinson, 70, were tending to a patient in the back of an ambulance when it was struck by an oncoming car that had swerved into the wrong lane of U.S. Highway 95 near Indian Valley.Huter said the rest of his EMS crew is struggling to cope with the accident. Both Sova and Dickinson have worked for Council EMS for about 10 years."We're pretty tight-knit here, everybody knows everybody pretty well," he said Thursday.Because they were tending to the patient when the crash happened, neither was wearing a seatbelt. They were airlifted to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise with serious injuries.Both Sova and Dickinson suffered head injuries in the crash. Huter said Sova has already undergone several surgeries."I think Jon's (injury) has actually gotten better because they took the tube out of him, so the pressure was relieved," he said.But the man's condition changed from serious to critical after he developed pneumonia — a complication that is not uncommon for older patients, Huter said.Sova and Dickinson also broke bones and sustained internal damage in the wreck."The doctors all felt that they would recover in time," Huter said.Workers' compensation would cover the medical bills for both EMTs, he said. Parma Ambulance has loaned Council an ambulance to use until it can get a new one or repair the damage.The ambulance driver, 66-year-old Charles Penniger, was taken to Weiser Memorial Hospital with a foot injury after the crash. He has since been released, Huter said. The Weiser hospital had been the ambulance's destination before the collision.The driver of the car, 36-year-old Samuel McCartney of Twin Falls, and his passenger, 37-year-old Heather Hetzel of Boise, also went to the hospital in Weiser, but Huter said that they did not appear to be seriously injured. McCartney's nose was bloodied when the airbag deployed, Huter said.The ambulance patient was not injured in the crash. Police did not release his name or information on his condition, citing patient privacy laws.Huter praised Penniger for his quick thinking. The ambulance driver saw the car coming toward him and swerved into the guardrail, causing McCartney's car to strike the side of the rig rather than collide head-on."Our driver did great evasive action to keep from doing a head-on," Huter said.Idaho State Police say McCartney was headed north when he swerved into the opposite lane to avoid a car that had slowed to yield to the ambulance.Police spokeswoman Teresa Baker said McCartney may face charges. The crash was still being investigated Thursday.Huter expressed gratitude to the Ada County Paramedics, Canyon County Paramedics, the air ambulance crew and Saint Alphonsus."All the paramedics and personnel in the Valley have treated our folks amazing," he said. "They've got them rooms to stay in down there and gotten them meals, and that's all because it's a big family."
Friday, October 25, 2013
An Adair County ambulance was involved in a crash while transporting a patient Wednesday afternoon.The crash happened at the intersection of Highway 63 and Briggs Street in Macon just after 1:30 p.m.ACAD personnel were on a run transporting the patient to Columbia when another vehicle struck the right front passenger side of the ambulance. The ambulance then struck a concrete pillared pole.The crew of the ambulance was treated and released from Samaritan Hospital in Macon. The patient in the ambulance was transported to Columbia by a Macon County ambulance.The extent of injuries to others is unknown at this time.The ambulance was significantly damaged.
Friday, October 25, 2013
By KATIE TERHUNE — firstname.lastname@example.orgBOISE — Two EMTs are fighting for their lives after the ambulance they were riding in was struck by a car near Indian Valley on Tuesday.As of Thursday morning, 62-year-old Sandra Sova, of Mesa, and 70-year-old Jonathon Dickinson ,of Council, were both listed in critical condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.Dickinson had been in serious condition Wednesday before taking a turn for the worse, a hospital spokeswoman said.The pair was injured in a crash on US Highway 95 as they transported a patient to Weiser Memorial Hospital. The ambulance was headed south with lights and sirens when it was hit head on by a northbound car driven by 36-year-old Samuel McCartney of Twin Falls.Idaho State Police say McCartney swerved into the southbound lane to avoid another vehicle that had slowed to yield to the ambulance.Sova and Dickinson were in the back of the ambulance tending to the patient when the collision happened, and were not restrained. They were transported to Saint Alphonsus by air ambulance.McCartney; his passenger, 36-year-old Heather Hetzel, of Boise; and 66-year-old ambulance driver Charles Penniger, of Council, were all wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, and were taken to Weiser Memorial Hospital, along with the ambulance patient, who was uninjured.Weiser Memorial Hospital declined to say Thursday whether they had been released from the hospital or provide any information about their conditions.ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker said McCartney may face charges in the wreck, which is still under investigation.Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/10/24/2831433/second-emt-in-critical-condition.html#storylink=cpy
Thursday, October 24, 2013
THOMAS BAILEY JR. - Scripps Howard News Service MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When Hospital Wing celebrated its 20th anniversary, the air ambulance chairman said, "We've never had an accident. It makes me nervous just saying it."Since Dr. Bruce Steinhauer made that statement to The Commercial Appeal in 2006, the Memphis-based air ambulance service has experienced two fatal accidents that killed a total of six people.The crash Tuesday near Somerville, Tenn., that took the lives of the pilot, a nurse and a respiratory therapist pushes the U.S. toll for air-ambulance fatalities so far this year to 12. It's the first time such deaths have reached double digits since 2010 when 16 people died.That was the same year when Hospital Wing's streak of 24 fatality-free years ended. A Hospital Wing pilot and two nurses died in a crash near Brownsville, Tenn. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) probe concluded the pilot's "risky decision" to outrun an approaching thunderstorm probably caused the 2010 accident.Hospital Wing was cited for six relatively minor safety violations between 1994 and 2009, each involving the air ambulance's employee drug-testing program, according to FAA records.A seventh alleged violation in 2010 was investigated but resulted in no action by the FAA.None of the violations lodged against the Memphis Medical Center Air Ambulance Services Inc., branded as Hospital Wing, resulted in anything more severe than a letter of correction or a warning letter, the records show.Nationally, the record of helicopter ambulance crashes is "unacceptable," concluded a 2011 study by the NTSB. The agency determined that while many air ambulance services adopt best practices for pilot training, aircraft equipment and operations, "some have not.""Not all air ambulance operators are created equally from a safety perspective, the NTSB report stated.Over the past 16 years, annual deaths from medical helicopter flights have totaled as low as three (2012 and 2001) and as high as 18 (2004) and 28 (2008). The average has been 10.5 deaths a year.Thirteen medical helicopters have been involved in fatal crashes since the beginning of 2010, with two of those crashes involving the Memphis air service.Safety recommendations that emerged from NTSB public hearings on the medical helicopter crashes included a call that the FAA develop criteria for scenario-based training that includes simulators. They also called for pilot training to fly by instruments during low visibility.The NTSB also recommended that the FAA should require systems that alert helicopters to terrain conditions, night-vision imaging systems and autopilot if a second pilot is not aboard.The FAA addressed the NTSB recommendations which became effective in 2012.Under the heading "Not all operations are the same ... but Medicare reimbursement is the same," the NTSB report described helicopters that cost $800,000 to $3 million that have one engine, are flown by a single pilot only, have limited weather capability and have limited weight capacity.The report compared those to helicopters that range from $4 million to $12 million, have two engines, can have two pilots, and come with auto pilot, a longer range, and instrument weather capability.The report posed the question: "To what level are helicopters that you utilize operating?" The level categories are world class, best practices, basic regulatory compliance or substandard performance.Hospital Wing is part of a nonprofit consortium called Memphis Medical Center Air Ambulance Services Inc., which was formed by the city's three largest hospitals in 1986.Hospital Wing generated $15.1 million in revenue in 2011, according to the latest report required of nonprofit organizations. Its expenses that year totaled $13.9 million.According to its 2011 nonprofit report, Hospital Wing transported an average of 181 patients a month, with 38 percent being trauma patients. The service also flies patients from community hospitals to Memphis for specialized care.Hospital Wing flies a 150-mile radius that encompasses parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri and Kentucky.The service provided more than $2.8 million in charitable care to patients unable to pay in 2011, according to its nonprofit report.Efforts on Tuesday to reach Hospital Wing officials who could describe the safety measures it takes and safety investments it makes were unsuccessful.(Reach reporter Thomas Bailey Jr. at email@example.com.)
Thursday, October 24, 2013
By Josh PenningtonA woman has been taken to hospital after being hit by an ambulance in Stoke-on-Trent.It’s believed the woman was using the pelican crossing on Leek Road close to the Staffordshire University campus when the accident happened.It’s believed she was hit by a private patient ambulance at around 12.45pm today (October 23).An ambulance and a rapid response unit were called to the scene.She has now been taken to North Staffordshire Hospital with suspected leg injuries.Staffordshire Police are asking for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them on 101 quoting reference 295 of October 23.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
By Kyle Odegard, Albany Democrat-HeraldAn ambulance was involved in a two-car crash at about noon on Sunday on Highway 20 near Clay Street Southeast.Just as a traffic light turned yellow, the driver of a pickup slammed on the brakes and came to an abrupt stop in the middle of the crosswalk, according to Oregon State Police logs.The ambulance broke hard before crashing into the back of the pickup and pushing it further into the intersection, blocking both the northbound and westbound lanes of travel.The driver of the pickup was cited for failure to obey a traffic control device.The ambulance was taking a patient to the hospital, and that woman complained of additional pain after the crash.A medic in the back of the ambulance had minor injuries.No one was injured in the pickup. The name of the driver of the pickup wasn’t available from Oregon State Police.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
SOMERVILLE, Tenn. — Two hospital workers and a pilot died in a helicopter crash near Somerville, Tenn., Tuesday morning en route to pick up a patient, MyFoxMemphis.com reported.The Hospital Wing said it lost contact with the helicopter around 6:20 a.m. There were two LeBonheur Children's Hospital personnel on board along with a Hospital Wing pilot, the report said.Le Bonheur's President and CEO Meri Armour said that the pilot and crew were experienced, and that they had a great helicopter.Emergency officials found the helicopter's remains in a wooded section of Somervile, about 45 miles east of Memphis.In a news release, the hospital identified those killed as 47-year-old pilot Charles Smith, 43-year-old nurse Carrie Barlow and 43-year-old respiratory therapist Denise Adams.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
HOUSTON — A man stole a Houston Fire Department ambulance outside a hospital before wrecking it a few minutes later, officials said.The man grabbed the ambulance about 6:30 p.m. Monday after the driver and HFD paramedics got out to take a patient into Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, HFD officials said.The man drove off in the stolen ambulance but was spotted by another HFD crew, who followed and called Houston police to report the theft, officials said.After a short chase, the man wrecked the stolen ambulance along Bellaire near the Sam Houston Tollway, officials said.He was taken into custody.An HFD ambulance is typically kept running after taking a patient to a hospital to power the electronics inside. They aren't locked because someone may need to move it in the event another ambulance is arriving at the hospital with a critical patient, HFD officials said.There were no reported injuries but the ambulance was severely damaged.The driver and HFD paramedic are assigned to Station 80 along the 16000 block of Chimney Rock.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Timothy WetzelHOUSTON—Police arrested a man accused of stealing a Houston Fire Department ambulance Monday and crashing it into an overpass.“He just got in and took off,” said HFD District Chief James Watson. “He was driving very erratically, jumping medians and trying to get on the freeway.”The suspect flat out admitted jumping behind the wheel and told a KHOU 11 News crew he did it because his head hurt and the people in the ER weren’t listening to him.Police said the man drove the ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blaring down Highway 59 to Beltway 8. Officers tried to chase the stolen rig, but said the man refused to pull over.The man eventually lost control and crashed into the Beltway 8 overpass on Bellaire Boulevard. He wasn’t hurt and there were no other injuries.Houston’s police and fire departments are both investigating to see how the man was able to steal the ambulance.Fire Department spokesman Ruy Lozano said it’s normal for paramedics to leave ambulances running when they take patients into the hospital.Lozano said the paramedic’s first priority is to get the patient into the emergency room and the ambulances are left running to keep certain equipment turned on.He said hospital security typically keeps an eye on the HFD ambulances as they wait outside the ER.The suspect’s name was not released.
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