AUSTIN, Texas — First responders are staying busy this week with all the big events in town. But two local medics had to go to the hospital after they say a drunk driver hit their ambulance over the weekend.
More people visiting means a higher risk for issues, like the crash that medics saw at South Congress Avenue and Riverside Drive Sunday morning. Austin-Travis County EMS said it’s concerning but it’s why medics step up their efforts to address safety during spring festival season.
“Whether it be a police emergency, whether it be a fire emergency or a medical emergency, that we can adequately and promptly address it and respond to it,” said Eric Jakubauskas, the ATCEMS division chief, in regard to the Event Operations Center they have set up.
But two medics needed help themselves on Sunday morning. They were responding to a call at South Congress Avenue and East Riverside Drive when they were rear-ended by a drunk driver.
“With their emergency lights engaged, they were busily treating the patient in the back of the ambulance with personnel with the Austin Fire Department,” said Jakubauskas.
Jakubauskas said the two medics went to local hospitals and are now OK but this could have been much worse.
“One of the medics was about to exit the ambulance. It was actually moving to the door and started to open the door when the vehicle actually struck there, the back of the ambulance,” said Jakubauskas.
With more foot traffic and cars on the road during the busy spring festival season, the City’s making sure crews are ready for anything.
Brydan Summers with the Austin Center for Events said they’ve already seen South by Southwest levels return to what we saw before the pandemic.
“We have 145 permit applications this year. Looking back at last year, we had 110 permit applications, so that’s about a 24% increase,” said Summers.
He says the Event Operations Center is just another way for them to make sure all city agencies are on the same page.
“We want to make sure we’ve got all the right people in the room if we need to make decisions, to get information out, to make sure everybody’s staying safe. So it really is just kind of our hub to make sure that when, you know, there’s so much going on this week, the City has really got a good grasp on everything,” said Summers.