It's common to see ambulances on the scene following a car accident, but earlier this month an ambulance was involved in an accident that took the life of a 19-year old college student. Police allege the ambulance driver ran a red light at the intersection of Highway 17 and Frontage Drive in Brunswick County around 9:30 a.m. on October 3, hitting the vehicle driven by the young woman who was headed to a college class. The ambulance driver is currently facing misdemeanor charges of death by vehicle as a result of the car accident.
According to troopers, the ambulance's siren and flashing lights were not turned on at the time of the accident. Although it was transporting a patient at the time, officials say it was a non-emergency case. Emergency workers had to cut the college student from her vehicle, and although she was flown to a local hospital for treatment, her injuries were too severe and she died later that day.
The young woman's family is understandably distraught over her death, and although it may be little comfort, they could be entitled to monetary compensation. The ambulance driver is facing criminal charges, but he could also be sued in a civil wrongful death lawsuit for his part in the accident.
And while securing a criminal conviction will not bring the woman back, it could help bolster a civil case. Citizens should be able to expect that ambulances, many times funded with taxpayer money, should be operated responsibly. While there are many dangerous drivers out there, people should be able to expect better from rescue workers who are expected to help keep the public safe.
Source: WECT, "First Look: Ambulance involved in fatal accident," Oct. 4, 2011