Over the weekend, a woman was killed when her PT Cruiser was hit by a Seals
ambulance. The ambulance was northbound on Indiana 37 with its lights
and sirens on when the crash occurred, but witnesses say the driver of
the PT Cruiser had a green light to progress through the intersection.
Mary Pietsch of Bloomington was heading west on South Victor Pike when
her vehicle was t-boned by the ambulance. The force of the crash was great
enough to send both vehicles off the road and into the median. Mary Pietsch,
tragically, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The Seals ambulance was driven by 35-year-ol Joshua Davis and was en route
to Indiana Health Bloomington Hospital with a patient in critical condition
at the time of the accident. Shortly after the crash, IU Health sent three
additional ambulances to the scene, and the patient in critical condition
was transferred and taken to the hospital. The ambulance driver and medics
were not injured, but the driver was taken to the hospital for a standard
blood draw. Investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role
in the crash.

Thousands of Traffic Accidents Involving Ambulances Each Year

According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are around 4500 roadway collisions involving ambulances
annually in the United States. Thirty-four percent, or a little over 1500,
of these crashes resulted in injuries. Such accidents can be downright
deadly, with an average of 33 fatalities occurring in ambulance accidents
each year.

Somewhat surprisingly, the majority of the deaths (63%) are comprised of
occupants from the non-ambulance vehicle, such as in the death of Mary
Pietsch. One might initially think, given the nature of work inside an
emergency vehicle, that unrestrained medics or the already ill/injured
patients might be more at risk in an accident. Severe injuries to medics
and patients are often a result of being insufficiently restrained. The
NHTSA found only 33% of patients in ambulances involved in serious crashes
were properly restrained with both shoulder and lap restraints. A full
84% of medics inside ambulances are completely unrestrained, often because
they are working on patients.

And yet, still the people most at risk are those in the other vehicle—why?
It may have something to do with the way the two cars collide. Since emergency
vehicles are crossing through intersections, many times while traffic
flows across their path. A driver who is fatigued or is not paying due
attention to the road for any reason can easily find him or herself in
a t-bone or broadside accident, slamming directly into the side of another
driver’s vehicle. Such accidents are among the most lethal, as the
impact is to a part of the vehicle close to occupants where there is little
protective space or hardware.

vehicular accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have decades of experience with a wide variety of crash
types. We have a history of successful representation of clients made
vulnerable by the wrongdoing of others. If you have been injured in an
accident with an ambulance or other emergency services vehicle, call us
today at (888) 204-8440 for a free consultation.