A volunteer emergency medical technician on his way to help a maternity patient was killed in a traffic accident early this morning in Leola. East Lampeter Township Police withheld the victim’s identity, pending notification of family, but said he was a 35-year-old man.
Police, who were still investigating the crash late this morning, said the victim was riding in a vehicle that went out of control on an icy Route 23 before it crashed. Members of the victim’s ambulance crew came upon the crash within minutes, police said, and tried to help their injured friend before taking him to Lancaster General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said the driver, Doris Martin of Leola, was not injured.
The accident happened a few minutes after 3 a.m., police said, when Martin, also a volunteer EMT, stopped to pick up the man at his home in the 100 block of East Main Street. The two were traveling westbound on East Main Street, which is also known as Route 23, on their way to the Leola Ambulance building in the 100 block of West Main Street, police said.
They were responding to an emergency call for a maternity patient needing an ambulance, East Lampeter Township police Lt. James Ely said, and were en route to the ambulance headquarters. Police said Martin lost control of her personal vehicle, a Ford Econoline van, on the icy roadway near Ethel Avenue. The van “slid on the ice, struck a snowbank and then a tree,” Ely said.
The major impact of the van into the tree, Ely said, was in the front passenger seat where the victim was riding. The victim apparently was thrown from the vehicle upon impact. Detective Michelle Velez said the Leola Ambulance Company’s Medic Unit came upon the crash almost immediately and began treating the injured man as well as tending to the van’s driver.
Police said they did not know what happened to the maternity patient, but presumed the medic unit told county dispatchers they were not responding. The injured man was taken to LGH, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
East Lampeter Township Police closed Route 23 between Ethel Avenue and Route 772 while attending to the injured man and clearing the wreckage. The roadway remained closed as of 10:30 a.m. Volunteers from Bareville Fire Company assisted police and ambulance crews at the scene.