An ambulance returning from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital was involved in a head-on collision with a car on the Western Freeway in Portsmouth, Virginia (VA), late Thursday night, leaving three persons with personal injuries in the crash on Route 164, the Daily Press reported.
On Thursday, police dispatchers received a 911 calls about two vehicles traveling east bound in the west bound lane of the freeway, police said. While officers were heading out to investigate, several other 911 calls were received saying a car had collided head on with an ambulance.
Officers found the driver of a black Chevrolet Impala car, unconscious and trapped in the car. Portsmouth Fire Units extracted the driver by cutting the car away from around him. The car's driver and passenger of the medical transport unit from Eagle Medical Transports were removed and attended to by other motorists, who witnessed the accident. All three were transported to Sentara Norfolk General, in Norfolk. The accident left the driver of the Impala in critical medical condition. The driver and passenger of the medical transport unit are in good condition, police said.
A representative with Eagle Medical Transports, said ambulance crews were headed back to Newport News, Virginia from Norfolk Sentara General Hospital when it was struck head on by a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction. WAVY-TV reported.
The crash is being investigated by the Portsmouth Police Strategic Traffic Unit, the cause of the accident with serious personal injuries had not yet been established. While details are still emerging of this accident, it's clear emergency medical services vehicles are often in dangerous and exposed circumstances that can lead to car crashes involving vehicles such as ambulances, police cars and fire trucks.
In Virginia, you are legally required to move into the next lane or slow down by 20 mph if an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the highway. Approximately 71 percent of Americans don't know about the "move over law" law. Violating the "move over" law could cost you $2500. .
While the driver and the passenger in the Portsmouth, Virginia (VA) crash appear to have escaped with less than catastrophic injuries, not all emergency services personnel involved in accidents have been so fortunate.
We recently reported on the deaths of two firefighters in Rocky Mount, Virginia (VA) last year when their vehicle was involved in a collision with an SUV. Last year, a Virginia state trooper and a Virginia Department of Transportation worker were injured at accident scenes in Newport News.
Many troopers, EMTs and EMS workers end up injured when passing drivers fail to give them a safe space. Across Virginia, eight state troopers have been involved in roadside collisions during 2009 and 2010.
On the opposite side of this issue, our firm is currently representing a Virginia (VA) car driver who suffered traumatic brain injuries when an medical transport van ran a red stop light in northern Virginia. That case is currently pending, and there is no contest that the van was not responding to an emergency call.
Bottom line: be careful no matter whether you are law enforcement, an EMT or just driving your own car or SUV.