Police investigating a deadly collision between an ambulance and a tractor trailer June 24 in southeastern Mississippi say the crash occurred when the emergency vehicle attempted to pass two 18-wheelers. The crash killed the two-man ambulance crew at the scene.
According to Mississippi Highway Patrol officials, an ASAP ambulance traveling north on Highway 63 in Greene County while responding to an emergency call came up behind two semi trucks. The ambulance crew had activated the vehicle’s red lights but had not initialized the siren when they attempted to pass the trucks on the left. The ambulance cleared the first truck but smashed into the second when the semi made a left turn in front of the emergency vehicle.
The impact caused an explosion and a resulting fire consumed much of the wreckage. WDAM of Moselle, Miss., reported that the crash killed ASAP medic Dennis Rushing, who had proposed to his fiancée just two days before. The identity of the other medic killed in the crash has been withheld.
WLOX of Gulfport, Miss. interviewed Greg Doyle, an operations manager for AMR, another ambulance company with services throughout the state, about some of the dangers ambulances face when rushing to an emergency.
Mr. Doyle said that people often fail to yield to ambulances, either because they aren’t paying attention or they don’t know what to do.
“They will want to stop where they are. They will pull to the left in front of you,” Mr. Doyle told WLOX. “What we really need them to do is just stop, pull to the right as far as they can and pay attention to what’s going on around them,” he added.
“Newer model cars are well insulated, and with air conditioners running, or you’re probably on your cell phone, not really paying attention to what’s going on around you, all of a sudden there is an ambulance behind you,” Mr. Doyle told WLOX.
Mr. Doyle told WLOX that ambulance drivers are required to stop at all red lights and stop signs, and that some people think that it’s okay to “jump out in front” of the ambulance even when it has lights and sirens going. He told WLOX that the last two accidents he knew of in his company were caused by drivers not letting the ambulance have the right of way at an intersection.