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Ambulance patient dies in 1-vehicle crash in Ohio

A patient traveling in an ambulance was killed in a one-vehicle accident in Washington Township on Aug. 15. The driver of the ambulance and an EMT assisting the patient suffered minor injuries in the accident.

The Ohio State Patrol reports that the fatal accident occurred at about 11:45 p.m. when the ambulance was on an I-171 southbound exit ramp and rolled over. The 30-year-old female driver of the ambulance lost control of the vehicle. The ambulance had not been making an emergency run but transporting a patient from one medical facility to another.

The driver of the ambulance told police that she had been checking her cellphone's GPS and had taken her eyes off of the road for a few seconds when the ambulance went off the left side of the ramp, crashed through a guardrail over an embankment and rolled over several times. The vehicle had been traveling at 75 miles per hour at the time of the incident.

The patient in the ambulance, a 56-year-old Cleveland man, was ejected from the ambulance and declared dead at the scene. The EMT assisting him, a 30-year-old Garfield Heights man, was also ejected. He and the driver were taken to OhioHealth MedCentral Mansfield Hospital for treatment. Police continue to investigate the cause of the accident as well as the speed of the ambulance. Charges are pending the autopsy results and the toxicology report.

In a similar accident, a wrongful death claim might be filed by the family of the decedent once all the information is known. The results of the police investigation and the autopsy and toxicology reports as well as any charges filed against the driver might be used to show negligence. Successful claims might result in awards for both financial and non-financial damages.

Source: Mansfield News Journal, "Ambulance driver was using phone at time of fatal crash", Lou Whitmire, September 16, 2014

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