FLORENCE, S.C. -- A North Carolina man has been charged with felony DUI following a head-on crash that sent him and two Florence County EMS medics to a Florence area hospital and shut down the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge over the CSX rail yard for much of the morning.
Jody Lynn Heglar of Norwood, NC, was driving a Ford F-250 pickup owned by a logging company east over the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge on Church Street when he crossed into the west-bound lanes at about 5 a.m. and ran head-on into an ambulance that was responding to a medical call, said Maj. Carlos Raines, Florence Police Department.
"At the time of the collision, the ambulance was responding to a call for assistance. The ambulance was occupied by two Florence County EMS employees. There were no patients onboard," according to a release issued by Florence County Emergency Medical Services.
Both medics and the truck driver were transported from the scene by medics, according to the release.
"Two of those transported by ambulance had non-life threatening injuries and the other, an EMS employee, suffered serious and potentially life threatening injuries," according to the release.
Florence Police officers, firefighters, Florence County EMS medics and Florence County Sheriff's deputies responded to the incident.
Florence Fire Marshal Ken Carr said firefighters worked to extricate the passenger from the ambulance.
The bridge, which spans the rail yard and connects Lucas and Church Streets and carries some US 52 traffic around downtown Florence, was closed from 5 a.m. until later in the morning when east-bound lanes were re-opened. Raines said the west-bound lanes were kept closed longer to facilitate the crash investigation.
Raines said that Heglar was treated and released from the hospital and has since been transported to the Florence County Detention Center. In addition to felony DUI he is charged with driving on a suspended license, Raines said.
The investigation into the crash was conducted by the department's FAIT team (Fatal Accident Investigation Team) which responds to serious crashes and those involving a death, Raines said.
"The staff of Florence County Emergency Medical Services appreciates the thoughts and prayers extended to the injured medics, their families and the entire Florence County EMS family," according to the agency's release.
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