Oxford ambulance flips in wreck on Highway 21 - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Oxford ambulance flips in wreck on Highway 21

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OXFORD, Ala. - Oxford police and paramedics working a wreck Thursday afternoon narrowly avoided additional injury as another vehicle crashed into the accident site minutes late.

The first collision involved an ambulance responding to an emergency call.  It flipped on its side when struck by a black Saturn coupe.

Police Chief Bill Partridge said the Oxford EMS ambulance left the shopping center containing Walmart and the Oxford post office just after 12:30 p.m.  The ambulance was headed west on Plaza Drive as it crossed the Highway 21 southbound lanes.

"The EMS unit was almost clear of the intersection when a vehicle had passed stopped traffic on the right hand side in the right lane, and made contact with the ambulance causing it to overturn," Partridge said.

It happened right in front of Travis Lang, who was on his way to Walmart to pick up a prescription.  He said he heard the siren and watched the ambulance ease through the intersection.

Then he saw the crash.

"Very frightening.  Something I really don't look forward to seeing again," Lang said.

He pulled over to the side of the road and got out to check on the ambulance driver.  Lang said the man was moving and did not seem seriously hurt.

"I was really concerned that somebody might be in the back of the ambulance.  Because it rolled and it hit so hard, it frightened me," he said.

The back was empty as the ambulance was on the way to pick someone up on an emergency call.  Another ambulance arrived to tend to the drivers, and then there was another crash.

Investigators said less than 10 minutes after the first wreck, a silver Hyundai coupe drove straight into the Saturn as police were in the process of blocking off the road.

"We had an individual who had passed out at the wheel and drifted over into the wrecked vehicle," Chief Partridge said.

Police said one of the officers missed being hit by just a few feet.  Investigators are trying to determine if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Witnesses said the man was unconscious as first responders got him out of the car and put him on the ground.  Lang said he saw police searching the Hyundai, and the man was conscious as paramedics put him in an ambulance.

Partridge said he hopes people will learn from this crash to be aware of sirens and flashing lights.

"When you see an emergency vehicle, please yield to that emergency vehicle.  They're trying to get to an emergency call and they can't do it if they can't get there safely," he said.

The ambulance EMT and the driver of the Saturn were treated for non-serious injuries and released from an area hospital.

Chief Partridge said the driver of the Hyundai, who was unconscious when he crashed into the Saturn, was still receiving medical care late Thursday afternoon.


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