Accidents involving emergency vehicle occur more often than we often realize. I was alarmed to read about a wreck on Friday in which a Newport News ambulance rear-ended a car, causing injuries, according to police.
Officials say the ambulance rear-ended an SUV on West Mercury Boulevard in Friday afternoon in Hampton.
The Daily Press reported the comments of Senior Police Officer Ashley Jenrette who said the wreck, which resulted in injuries, took place at 12:45 p.m. close to the intersection of West Mercury Boulevard and Coliseum Drive.
A Ford Explorer was reported to be stopped in a left turn lane eastbound on West Mercury Boulevard when it was hit from behind by the ambulance, Jenrette said.
The wreck injured three people in the Ford. They were taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening. No Newport News firefighter-medics were injured in the crash, but the driver was later issued a summons for following too close. Police said there was one patient in the ambulance at the time of the crash, but the occupant was not an emergency patient. The accident caused a traffic back-up on Friday afternoon.
Earlier this year, I noted how more than 100 people are killed every year in accidents involving fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, according to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Crashes involving police cruisers cause the largest loss of life, raising questions about the circumstances in which patrol cars should get involved in pursuits. Figures from 2012 found 34 people lost their lives in crashes involving ambulances, 14 in crashes involving fire trucks and 83 in wrecks involving police vehicles.
The figures may be just the tip of the iceberg. EMS World in a recent article alluded to a “dearth of information about ambulance wrecks.” It stated that in 2010, there were more than 250 U.S. ambulance crashes that made the news.
We expect the drivers of emergency vehicles to drive to a better standard than other drivers but this is not always the case. There have been some well-documented cases in which emergency vehicles have been driven recklessly or drivers have been distracted. Two years ago a $800,000 settlement was reached in a wrongful death case brought by the family of an elderly man who lost his life while traveling in an ambulance that crashed in Charlottesville, VA. It emerged that the ambulance driver had been texting before he crashed the ambulance. All cases are different and unique, and we cannot guarantee the same result in a different case. If you have been injured in a crash with an emergency vehicle or if you have lost a loved one, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.