An ALS ambulance (EMT and Paramedic), With ALS
Supervisor in a chase vehicle back up and ALS (2
paramedics) Rescue for traffic control were responding
with lights and sirens, for a male slumped over the
wheel off to the right shoulder of the interstate
southbound. Township as well as State Police units
were en route at a non-emergency rate for this call.
All units had to go northbound on the interstate to
respond to the incident location southbound.
When the Ambulance was passing the location northbound
they noted and reported that a male was visible in the
drivers seat, slumped over the steering wheel, The
cars reverse lights were on. As the Supervisor was
approaching the scene northbound he noticed that the
patient vehicle had begun to drift in reverse into
traffic. The supervisor crossed the grass median and
was able to push the car back off the roadway using
the pushbars on his suburban. The ambulance was at the
scene southbound shortly afterwards.
As the Paramedic supervisor reached in to put the car
into park, and shut off the ignition, the Ambulance
crew chocked the wheels of the patients car.
Bystanders had stopped just south of the incident
prior to EMS arrival and were approaching the scene at
the time of the supervisors arrival to render
assistance, they left when they saw that resources
were at the scene.
The patient became alert while this was happening and
was co-operative when the crew began to assess him to
find out why he was slumped over the wheel. While we
were assessing the patient the Paramedic Supervisor
did another walk around of the vehicle. As he
approached from the A post area, he noticed that the
male patient had a 9mm handgun laying on his lap,
something that the crew did not notice at the time.
The Supervisor came around the driver’s side door,
told the patient he was going to check his pulse and
grabbed the gun to clear it from the patients reach.
While the supervisor was removing the gun the patient
stated that”you don’t have to do that” and began to
reach for the gun. The supervisor was able to get the
gun out of the car and lock it away in his vehicle. At
that time we removed the male from the vehicle and
padded him down for our safety, we remove a lock blade
knife and drug paraphenalia. While the EMT, also
trained as a Tactical EMT detained the patient, the
Paramedic continued his assessment. The male had no
complaints other than being tired and stating that he
had been up drinking and using cocaine overnight.
While we continued to assess the male, the Supervisor
switched over to the Police frequency and asked them
to expedite, advising them of the situation.
The Rescue squad had traffic controlled down to one
lane furthest from the incident. Police arrived and
took the patient into custody. While searching the
vehicle the police found 2 more handguns, a Tek 9 and
a .38 revolver. The police also recovered a leather
jacket with a badge on it and a portable police
scanner which had the local police frequency as the
The EMS service is re-evaluating how we respond to
this type of call for crew safety. It was a scary
reminder that we need to be cautious on all calls
especially the everyday call.
Etna Fire Rescue
Ross/West View EMSA