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3 killed in N.M. medical helicopter crash

Saturday, July 19, 2014  NEWKIRK, N.M. — A medical helicopter flying to pick up a patient crashed into the side of a New Mexico hilltop early Thursday, bursting into flames and killing all three crew members on board, authorities said.

The helicopter was flying from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe to Tucumcari when it disappeared from radar at 2:48 a.m.

It went down near Newkirk along Interstate 40 about 135 miles east of Albuquerque and about 30 miles from Tucumcari.

Ranch workers found the wreckage on the rocky, northern side of a mesa after authorities called and asked them to look around the area.

"It crashed and burned," said ranch manager Phil Bidegain. "No survivors .... Everything burned except for the very end of the tail."

Bidegain said a ranch cowboy he called to help him look for the craft told him he was awakened by a sound but went back to sleep because he didn't know what it was.

"When he got up he could see the flames," Bidegain said.

Hospital spokesman Arturo Delgado confirmed all three people on board were killed. Their identities were not immediately released, but he said the CareFirst crew was well-known at the hospital.

"These crew members were our colleagues, our friends and our neighbors," the hospital said in statement. "Our hearts, and our prayers, go out to the loved ones of these extraordinary individuals, who were committed to saving lives every single day."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the cause of the crash was unknown, although the National Weather Service said there were low clouds and gusty winds in the area at the time.

"The combination ... likely led at least in part to that crash," said Brian Guyer, a meteorologist at the NWS in Albuquerque.

He said there might have also been some rain as storms had moved through the area earlier.

Kansas City attorney and medical helicopter safety expert Gary Robb says the aircraft are also difficult to fly.

"Helicopters don't glide," he said. "You must pay attention every second. If you don't, they are dangerous."

He said helicopters crash at a rate 40 percent higher than small, fixed-wing aircraft. And medical helicopters crash at an ever higher rate.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Bullhead City, Arizona-based TriState CareFlight LLC owned and operated the helicopter, said company marketing director John Cole, who was traveling to the crash scene and could not immediately comment further. 



Two Hospitalized After SUVs, Ambulance Collide - Chicago

Saturday, July 19, 2014  Two people were seriously injured following an accident involving two SUVs and an ambulance Friday afternoon.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Harlem and Bryn Mawr avenues.

Four people were injured in the accident. Two refused treatment at the scene and another two were transported to Loyola Hospital in serious condition. The injuries are not believed to life-threatening.

It's not clear what caused the accident.



Ambulance rolls over in Kohler - Wisconsin

Saturday, July 19, 2014  One person was seriously injured in a rollover accident involving an Orange Cross ambulance Thursday morning in Kohler.

According to information from Orange Cross Ambulance Service, the ambulance was westbound on Highway PP in Kohler about 6:55 a.m. when a vehicle headed north on county Highway A drove into its path.

The vehicles collided at the intersection.

Both paramedics were able to crawl out through the back door of the ambulance and they helped the occupant of the car until the Sheboygan Fire Department arrived.

The driver, who has not been identified, was treated at the scene by the Sheboygan Fire Department and then transported by Flight for Life to Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah.

One of the paramedics, Chris Berlin, sustained minor injuries in the crash and was taken to St. Nicholas Hospital, where he was treated and released. Paramedic Alex Kasten was uninjured.

Kohler Police Department, which is investigating the crash, hasn't released any information. The Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office also responded to the scene.

Prior to the crash, the ambulance was driving to Sheboygan Falls with lights and sirens to respond to a medical emergency.




Two paramedics and firefighter injured in crash - Hawaii

Saturday, July 19, 2014  Two EMS paramedics and a Honolulu firefighter had to be taken to the hospital to get treated for injuries due to a crash.

Around 10:30 this morning, the three emergency responders were in an ambulance helping a patient who had a medical emergency when the ambulance crashed on the Atkinson exit-ramp at Ala Moana Center.

One paramedic was seriously injured in the crash. The other paramedic and firefighter had only minor injuries.

The patient was taken to the hospital in another ambulance.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. 



Video released of Thursday ambulance crash in Kohler - Wisconsin

Saturday, July 19, 2014  The woman injured in Thursday's crash pulled out from her stop sign because she thought the ambulance coming toward her would also stop, according to an accident report released Friday by the Kohler Police Department.

The name, age and hometown of the woman were redacted from the report, but the incident narrative states that she stopped at the four-way stop at Highway A and Highway PP, and then pulled into the intersection because she thought the ambulance coming toward her on Highway PP would stop despite its lights and sirens.

In a video of the crash, which was taken by Kohler Co. cameras and released along with the report, the ambulance plowed into the passenger side of the car and rolled over, coming to rest on the northwest corner of the intersection.

The woman was flighted to Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah. One of the paramedics in the ambulance sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan.

According to information released by Orange Cross Ambulance on Thursday, the rig was westbound on Highway PP about 6:55 a.m. with lights and sirens, responding to a 911 call for medical assistance.

The driver of the ambulance was cited for failing to operate safely as an emergency vehicle operator. The woman in the car was cited for failure to yield to am emergency vehicle. 



First responders hurt in ambulance accident at Ala Moana - Hawaii

Saturday, July 19, 2014  HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

An ambulance crash at Ala Moana Center involved overworked paramedics on overtime. Two paramedics and a firefighter were hurt in the accident. Hawaii News Now has learned that one of the paramedics suffered a serious leg injury. The other had injured ribs.

First responders helping a patient with a medical emergency wound up in the hospital after the crash. Authorities said a 50-year-old worker at the construction site near Nordstrom was in critical condition around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday. The patient was loaded on the third-level and sources said a police officer in his vehicle was leading the rig out of the mall. The ambulance crashed on the way down the Atkinson ramp. The driver, a veteran paramedic, was seriously hurt, according to a spokesperson for the city's Emergency Medical Services division. The other paramedic and a firefighter who was assisting them in the rig suffered minor injuries.

Sources said the patient was in cardiac arrest, but the ambulance crew had stabilized him. Hawaii News Now learned that he went back into cardiac arrest and later died.

The crash comes as a deal between the city and the medics' union to ease a staffing shortage and reduce mandatory overtime has stalled. The two paramedics on duty were in the middle of a second eight-hour shift, according to sources. The rig is based at Kuakini Medical Center and is one of the busiest city ambulances on the island.

The city wants to reduce chronic vacancies which lead to back-to-back shifts by changing the length of the shift from eight to 12 hours. The move would mean the city's 22 ambulances could be run with one-third less staff each day, allowing other medics to have much-needed time off, but sources said the United Public Workers union is holding up the negotiations.

One of the first responders has been a paramedic for more than 30 years. The other has worked for 11 years.

An EMS spokesperson declined to comment on the overtime issue and the negotiations. 




Monday, July 14, 2014  A man faces multiple charges, including a felony, after threatening to shoot at the crew of a medical helicopter for flying too low over his property.

The incident happened at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Mercy West Hospital in Green Township.

Investigators say the crew of a UC Health Air Care helicopter was making a "routine patient transfer" from another hospital when Leonard Pflanz, 56, got out of his vehicle and began yelling at the pilot of the aircraft.

"Through the conversation he ended up making some threats to the pilot that he was going to shoot at the helicopter if he would land that low again over his house (on Philloret Drive), " said Cpl. Daniel Vath with Green Township Police Department.

Witnesses told officials from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office a similar account of what transpired.

The alleged threat grounded the helicopter for a time, keeping the crew from responding to other calls, according to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Jim Neil said the patient transported by the helicopter was already inside the hospital when Pflanz arrived.

Pflanz is charged with misconduct at an emergency and aggravated menacing, both misdemeanors. He also faces a felony charge of disrupting public service.

The suspect was arrested and transported to the Hamilton County Justice Center. He's expected to be arraigned Monday at 9 a.m.




Sunday, July 13, 2014  Two EMS paramedics and a Honolulu firefighter had to be taken to the hospital to get treated for injuries due to a crash.

Around 10:30 this morning, the three emergency responders were in an ambulance helping a patient who had a medical emergency when the ambulance crashed on the Atkinson exit-ramp at Ala Moana Center.

One paramedic was seriously injured in the crash. The other paramedic and firefighter had only minor injuries.

The patient was taken to the hospital in another ambulance.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.



2 Fla. ambulance thefts in 4 days prompts changes

Friday, July 11, 2014  By Dan Scanlan
The Florida Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 54-year-old man who said he was tired of waiting at Baptist Medical Center South was arrested late Wednesday after a city rescue unit was stolen and found in front of his Mandarin home, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

This is the second time this week that a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department unit has been taken from a hospital and abandoned nearby, according to police and fire officials.

It started Saturday with a theft at St. Vincent’s Medical Center that was initially deemed the first in years.

“That moment represented a true anomaly,” fire department spokesman Tom Francis said. “We had not had any apparatus stolen in almost 50 years.”

It occurred just after 2 a.m. at St. Vincent’s emergency room at 1 Shircliff Way, according to the police report. Paramedics had just taken a patient there and were inside finishing paperwork when the unit, which was left running, was taken.

The unit was tracked to the 3200 block of St. Johns Avenue, undamaged and nothing taken.

In the latest heist, Ezickel Ford was charged with auto theft. The Sheriff’s Office said the rescue unit was stolen from its parking spot in front of Baptist South at 14550 Old St. Augustine Road. Police tracked it to the 6400 block of Cordial Drive, finding Ford seated nearby on the front steps.

He told police that “the rescue door was open and it was running and I just wanted to go home,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Francis said rescue units must remain running when they get to accident scenes or emergency rooms so the air conditioning stays on to keep patients and electronic equipment cool. So the personnel attached to both were not disciplined.

Since each rescue unit has a tracking system, dispatchers can trace the vehicles. But now that two have been stolen, the fire department will institute new fail-safe mechanisms to eliminate this “criminal activity that individuals believe they have the right to participate in,” Francis said.




Pa. man runs ambulance off road, spits in EMS provider's face

Friday, July 11, 2014  By Steven Henshaw
Reading Eagle

BERNVILLE, Pa. — The Bernville man charged with assaulting a paratransit ambulance driver outside St. Joseph Medical Center was involved in another road rage incident along Route 183 in October, Bern Township police said.

The suspect, Jonathan R. Eshbach Jr., 20, of the 300 block of Main Street, surrendered to authorities Tuesday night, police said. He was taken to the county sheriff's department to await arraignment, police said.

Eshbach faces charges of aggravated and simple assault and related offenses from the St. Joseph incident on Monday afternoon.

In the October case, Eshbach is accused of ripping the side mirror off a vehicle after an encounter at Route 183 just south of West Leesport Road, according to court records.

According to police, Eshbach was driving his father's truck south on Route 183 at a point where two lanes merge to one. From the right lane, he tried to enter the left lane, and eventually edged so close to another car that he struck the mirror.

He cut in front of the other vehicle and continued driving until a stop sign at the Route 222 interchange. There, according to police, Eshbach got out of the truck, approached the car and shouted at the driver before breaking off the side mirror.

Eshbach was charged with criminal mischief, hit-and-run, careless driving and other offenses. A nonjury trial is scheduled for next month in Berks County Court in that case.

In Monday's incident at St. Joseph, ambulance driver Jason Schrammel of LifeStar Response, Bethlehem, was on his way to the hospital to pick up a patient. LifeStar vehicles provide wheelchair transport, typically for patients going home or to another facility such as a nursing home. The ambulance was not staffed by a paramedic or emergency medical technician.

LifeStar officials were unavailable for comment.

According to police:

Schrammel exited Route 222 at Route 183 and a car registered to Eshbach cut him off. After twice braking in front of the ambulance and forcing the driver to move onto the shoulder, Eshbach followed the ambulance into the hospital parking lot, eventually forcing Schrammel to stop.

A fight ensued, and Eshbach spit in Schrammel's face and punched him. Defending himself, Schrammel kicked Eshbach twice in the ribs and punched him before hospital security intervened. Schrammel suffered an injury to his wrist.

Eshbach was able to get in his car and drive away. 



Paramedic chased by man with knife in Dartmouth apartment - Canada

Thursday, July 10, 2014  By Haley Ryan

A Halifax paramedic found himself in a scary situation Saturday evening when a man he had helped revive pulled a knife and chased him out of a Dartmouth apartment.

Halifax Regional Police say the paramedic was working on an unconscious man inside an apartment in the 200 block of Wyse Road around 6 p.m.

Staff Sgt. Bill Morris said once the man started breathing again he became “very aggressive” and pulled a knife on the paramedic, who called for police assistance.

“If they don’t feel safe they’re going to call, like the general public,” Morris said.Officers arrived and arrested the man, who is due in Dartmouth provincial court on Monday. He is charged with assault with a weapon, uttering threats and breaching a court order.

“It was handled but it is still concerning, especially for the paramedic,” Morris said Sunday. “Anytime a weapon is pulled on a member of emergency services … it’s very concerning.

“We’re there to help people,” Morris added.

In an email, the spokeswoman for Emergency Health Services Nova Scotia said they are very relieved the paramedic wasn’t hurt but the paramedic occupation, like all first responders, “carries inherent risk.”

Stacey Brown said the paramedic supervisor responded to the call alone, which is common for supervisors on a support unit. EHS workers don’t carry weapons, Brown said, and are trained in “non-violent crisis intervention.”

Brown said if medical communications officers suspect there could be danger on any call, paramedics wait for police before responding but “some situations are unpredictable.” 



SUV, ambulance collide on I-70 near north split - Indiana

Thursday, July 10, 2014  INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An SUV and an ambulance collided Tuesday morning near downtown.It happened in the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 near the Interstate 65 north split.

Dispatchers with Indiana State Police said there was a patient on board the ambulance at the time of the crash. Police say another ambulance was called to the scene, but it’s unknown if that was to continue the patient onto the hospital from the original medical run, or if that patient was injured in the crash.

ISP dispatch says the driver of the SUV was not hurt. Medics on board the ambulance were uninjured as well.

At one point, the right three lanes of westbound I-70 were closed because of the crash. Around 9:30 a.m. only two lanes remained closed near mile 83.5. Police said they were working to re-open all lanes as soon as possible.




Ambulances take brunt of crash - Idaho

Tuesday, July 8, 2014  By Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune, IdahoMcClatchy-Tribune Information ServicesJuly 07--While Lewiston Fire Departmentmedics usually go to the scene of accidents, Patricia Wilson allegedly brought the accident to them Saturday night.

According to the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office, Wilson crashed into the fire department's garage on 13th Street after being pursued into town by a Nez Perce County sheriff's deputy. Interim fire chief Travis Myklebust said Wilson's vehicle blasted through a garage door and struck the department's front-line medic unit, pushing it back into another ambulance.

"So it damaged two of our ambulances," Myklebust said. "One of them is definitely out of commission. It appears that it may have bent the frame, so it could end up being totaled. It's hard to tell yet."

The second ambulance only had a dented bumper and hood and can be used in a back-up role until it is repaired, Myklebust said. Luckily, another ambulance just got back into town after being refitted, and can be put into service once it has radios and other equipment installed.

"This week we will be expediting getting that vehicle put back into service," he said. "Which is easy because all of our ambulances are set up exactly the same way. It's easy to move equipment around."

Wilson, 48, suffered a severely broken leg but had no life-threatening injuries. Myklebust said the medics at the station had to extricate her from the wreckage.

"They treated her and then transported her in the only remaining ambulance we had at the station," he said. "Thank goodness we had three ambulances."

A garage door company came in the middle of the night to repair the damaged door so the station could be secured, he added.

Replacing an ambulance would cost about $160,000. Myklebust said the insurance card in Wilson's vehicle was expired, but the city has insurance that should help if the ambulance has to be replaced.

According to the sheriff's office, a deputy attempted to stop Wilson at about10:39 p.m. on Lindsay Creek Road after she allegedly came close to striking his patrol vehicle. Wilson allegedly drove the green 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at a high rate of speed to East Main Street, ran the light at 21st Street, and continued to G Street before failing to make the turn onto 13th Street.

Wilson, of Lapwai, was in fair condition at St. Joseph Regional Medical CenterSunday afternoon, according to a nursing supervisor.

Idaho State Police are conducting the crash investigation while the sheriff's office is investigating the incident as a possible DUI, according to a news release.

Myklebust said the accident marred what was otherwise an "extremely quiet" weekend. The department had two minor fireworks-related calls, but Lewistonresidents were generally safe and sane with their Independence Day celebrations, he said. Things were also relatively quiet on the other side of the river, according to Clarkston Fire Department acting Capt. Melissa Welter.

"In the past years, we were up and going until 1 o'clock in the morning," Welter said, noting that the department only responded to two fires that were already out when firefighters arrived.

ISP also reported a quiet weekend, aside from a couple of accidents and numerous speeding tickets. Trooper Andy Schoonmaker said the department did assist local agencies at a couple of campsites near Grangeville with reports of underage drinking.

Mills may be contacted at or (208) 848-2266.




Man cited in crash that caused ambulance to roll over - Michigan

Saturday, July 5, 2014  A 27-year-old Pontiac man was cited for failure to yield the right of way Tuesday night after authorities said he caused a crash that resulted in an ambulance rolling onto its side.

The crash occurred around 10:25 p.m. Tuesday in the intersection of Woodward and Rapid Street. The ambulance was southbound on Woodward when the suspect turned left onto northbound Woodward from Rapid Street.

The vehicle failed to yield and the ambulance struck it, causing the ambulance to roll onto the driver’s side. The ambulance was not on an emergency run at the time, and no patients were aboard. The driver of the ambulance required treatment for minor injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle did not suffer any injuries. 



Ambulance involved in non-injury crash after responding to South Locust accident - Nebraska

Thursday, July 3, 2014  By Sarah Schulz

An ambulance returning to the fire station after responding to a crash was involved in a non-injury accident Monday morning.

The ambulance crew had dropped off a patient at St. Francis Medical Center after responding to an accident at Lowry Road and Locust Street. It was returning to Fire Station 1 at the time of the “fender bender,” Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt said.

Lights and sirens weren’t being used at the time of the crash because the ambulance wasn’t responding to an emergency, he said.

Grand Island police officer Jason Woods said the ambulance, being driven by firefighter Ron Tubbs, was traveling east on Anna Street when it collided with a 2007 Saturn Aura being driven south on Adams Street. Anna Kellar, 22, of Grand Island was at the wheel of the Saturn and failed to yield the right of way to the ambulance, Woods said.

There is a stop sign on Adams Street, and Woods said witnesses told him Kellar “didn’t make much of an attempt to stop.”

The collision caused an estimated $2,500 damage to the bumper and headlight area of the ambulance and damaged the Saturn’s back quarter panel. One of the Saturn’s tires was also flattened, Woods said.

Schmidt said firefighter Fred Benzel, who was a passenger in the ambulance, was able to drive the vehicle from the scene back to St. Francis so Tubbs could undergo mandatory drug and alcohol screening. The tests are required by the city any time a city employee has a crash in a city vehicle while on duty, Schmidt said.

Once Tubbs was cleared, the men returned to Fire Station 1, he said.

Kellar was also able to drive her vehicle away from the crash scene but not before getting a little help from the men in the ambulance.

“My guys were nice and even changed her tire,” Schmidt said. 



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