Most everyone knows that when an ambulance sounds its siren to indicate that it is in the area, the standard procedure is to pull over and let it pass. It is the best way to ensure the vehicle can pass safely and get the injured or sick person inside to their destination as quickly as possible. Indeed, most states have a “move over” law that requires motorists to yield the roadway to emergency vehicles (such as an ambulance) with their red and/or white lights operating. The wrongful death of a Massachusetts woman illustrates what can happen when that is ignored.
The patient was being transported home in an ambulance after a dialysis appointment. A woman allegedly ran a stop sign and collided with the back of the ambulance. The impact forced the ambulance to spin around and flip over. It nearly went over a guardrail but stopped just before that occurred. Video surveillance cameras in the area captured the incident.
The woman in the ambulance was taken to a Massachusetts hospital, where she later died. A paramedic who was in the emergency vehicle at the time of the wreck was also injured. He received treatment for his injuries and was released.
The woman who was driving the car now faces several charges stemming from the accident, including motor vehicle homicide. She was also charged for running the stop sign and not yielding the right of way to the ambulance. Her past driving record indicates several speeding tickets from past infractions.
No definite court date has yet been set for the woman thought responsible for this fatal car accident. As her case works its way through the Massachusetts criminal justice system, the family of the decedent has the separate right to initiate proceedings in civil court in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit. The paramedic who suffered injuries is also entitled to seek financial reparations through a personal injury claim. Successfully litigated claims could result in a monetary award for damages sustained as a result of the tragedy.
Source: The Boston Globe, Ambulance crash in Milford that killed patient was captured on video; driver of second car cited, Evan Allen, Jan. 22, 2014