A Wednesday, June 8 wreck in Dillsboro sent two men who usually drive an ambulance to the hospital in the back of one.
A Volvo tractor-trailer driven by Max Robensky Sainvelus, 35, of Orlando, Florida descended the hill from N.C. 74 towards the traffic light at about 55 mph in the 35 mph zone, Sawyer said.
“The tractor trailer could not get stopped,” Sawyer said. “He saw the yellow light turning and tried to slow down. He was loaded with about 38,00 pounds of motor oil and just could not get stopped in time for the red light.”
Kevin Darrell Carswell, 45, of Sylva, was driving a Harris EMS ambulance through a green light heading west on Haywood Road and had almost cleared the intersection when the 18-wheeler struck the vehicle on the passenger side. The ambulance flipped onto its passenger side.
“They were not hauling anybody,” Sawyer said. “There was another EMS worker in the front of the ambulance.”
Ricky Donovan Marr, 33, of Whittier was in the passenger seat. Neither man suffered serious injuries.
The tractor-trailer did not leave skid marks, Sawyer said.
Sawyer estimated Sainvelus’ speed to be 30 mph at impact.
“My indication is that he saw the light turn yellow and started to slow the vehicle down and then it turned red and he tried to apply the brakes harder but there was no indication of any skid marks,” he said. “He crossed the stop bar (the white bar at intersections that indicate where vehicle should stop at traffic lights) about 53 feet and into the intersection.”
Neither weather nor impairment were factors in the accident.
“Traffic didn’t really get that backed up,” Sawyer said. “Luckily there was light traffic early in the morning. We had one lane still open and the turning lane was open. Everybody could more or less get around. The Sylva Fire Department was directing traffic.”
Sainvelus was charged with failure to stop for steady red light, according to the collision report Sawyer filed.
In addition to the NCHP, SFD and Harris EMS, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was on scene, Sawyer said.