It’s often true that if someone’s timing, focus or other actions had been different by just a few seconds or minutes, a fatal collision would have been avoided. These considerations come to mind regarding a fatal accident in Georgia that left two emergency technicians dead along with the patient in the county ambulance they were operating. It happened recently at about 5 a.m. on state Highway 32 near Ocilla in south Georgia.
The EMT victims were a 44-year-old woman of Axson who was driving the ambulance and a 56-year-old man from Ashburn who was in the passenger seat. Also dead was their 65-year-old male patient of Tifton who was being taken to the hospital for emergency medical reasons. According to witnesses, the ambulance was traveling east on the highway at a high speed with sirens and lights activated. A westbound semitrailer jack-knifed across the center line and into the path of the ambulance.
The truck accident was so violent that the patient was ejected from the ambulance. The Georgia State Patrol’s specialized crash reconstruction team is investigating, and hasn’t yet determined if there will be any citations. The truck driver was the only one to survive the fatal accident.
The reason that the truck crossed the center line and jack-knifed is currently unknown. The truck driver’s failure to maintain the truck in the proper lane of traffic appears to be the critical event of negligence that caused the accident. The final conclusion awaits further accident reconstruction efforts.
It’s fairly certain under Georgia negligence law that the patient’s estate and the estate of the male EMT will each be able to make a substantial wrongful death claim in regards to this fatal accident. Neither of them was negligent, and each may make a claim against the truck driver and owner, and maybe against the ambulance driver and owner. However, the ambulance had authority to be driving fast under emergency circumstances with its warning apparatus activated. Depending on final investigative reports, the ambulance driver’s estate may also have a claim against the truck.
Source: inquisitor.com, “GA Ambulance Crash Kills Three,” June 6, 2013