Archive | March, 2010

Ambulance Rolls In Crash

Posted on 31 March 2010 by wyoskibum

LEXINGTON, KY – A Morgan County ambulance was involved in a rollover accident in Lexington Monday night.

The accident happened around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and New Circle Road. Police say that Rebecca M. Rogers, 27, failed to stop as the ambulance entered the intersection with siren blaring and lights flashing. Witnesses say the ambulance paused at the intersection and then proceeded when the driver apparently thought it was clear. Everyone stopped – except Rogers. The Hyundai Sonata she was driving plowed into the ambulance, causing it to flip.

“One person didn’t stop. I don’t know if she didn’t hear it or see it or what, but the ambulance went over top. It was so strong it made it flip. It was really fast, really awful,” John Slone, a witness, said.

Callalou Roe, 58, the driver of the ambulance, and a patient inside were both injured. Officials say Roe will be ok, but the patient is in critical condition at UK Hospital. It’s unclear whether the patient’s condition is a result of the crash, or from a previous condition.

Charges against Rogers are pending.


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Ambulance Carrying Patient Crashes Into Car Wash

Posted on 31 March 2010 by wyoskibum

GREENVILLE, S.C. — An ambulance taking a victim of another crash to an area hospital became involved in a crash itself on Monday morning.Anderson County dispatchers told FOX Carolina that the ambulance was carrying a patient from a separate crash, when it was sideswiped at about 5 a.m. They said the crash sent the ambulance into a car wash at the intersection of Highway 81 and White Horse Road.

A second ambulance came to take the victim of the original crash to Greenville Memorial Hospital, and rescuers involved in the second wreck were checked out as well.

The original accident happened about 15 minutes earlier and five miles away in Anderson County. One person had to be cut out of the wreckage after the single-car wreck on Highway 81.

Both the driver and a passenger were taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital.  Their conditions were not immediately released.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating both crashes. There is no word on what might have caused either one, or of any charges.


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Bill would exempt Louisiana firefighters from medical oversight

Posted on 31 March 2010 by wyoskibum

A state legislator in Louisiana backed by the state firefighters union has launched a bid to make Louisiana the only state that exempts firefighters from all medical oversight.

Oversight is crucial, doctors say, because firefighters respond to more medical emergencies than fires and routinely care for critically ill people outside hospitals with no doctor present.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Karen St. Germain, a Democrat, today begins working its way through the legislature. The nine members of the emergency medical services (EMS) commission, named by Gov. Bobby Jindal, called the proposal “preposterous” in a letter delivered to the governor Thursday.

Last year, commissioners found that 900 of the 22,000 people who applied to work as emergency medical technicians had physical, mental or criminal histories that might affect patient care. Five percent of those deserving scrutiny were firefighters. Commissioners disciplined 174 applicants for licensure or renewal for infractions ranging from malpractice and negligence to substance abuse and criminal behavior, says Jullette Saussy, a commission member and New Orleans’ EMS medical director.

EMS directors worry that the Louisiana measure may prompt firefighters elsewhere to try to follow suit. “It would open a Pandora’s box,” Saussy says.

A USA TODAY investigation of EMS care in 50 major cities in 2005 found that 6% to 10% of the 9,000 people who collapse from cardiac arrest each year are revived. If each city increased its save rate to 20%, 1,800 more people could be rescued every year.

Experts say exempting firefighters from oversight could mean more lives lost. “To me, it’s unheard of,” says Corey Slovis, medical director of Nashville EMS. “To the best in my knowledge, there is nowhere in the nation where EMS providers function without medical oversight.”

Chad Major of the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Louisiana claims responsibility for the measure. “I control the bill,” he says, adding that the union wrote it “sternly” to bring the commission and the state Department of Health and Hospitals to the bargaining table. The union’s goal isn’t to deprive commissioners of medical oversight, he says, it’s to limit their power over certification fees and late penalties.

Saussy rejects the complaint about onerous fees and penalties, because firefighters who qualify to provide medical care reap thousands each year in extra income and hazardous-duty pay.

Jimmy Guidry, who heads the health department, says he has begun meeting with firefighters and others to decide how oversight duties should be handled.


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hospital patient steals ambulance, killed by police

Posted on 31 March 2010 by wyoskibum

PLACERVILLE, CA – A Placerville hospital patient was shot and killed by police Sunday after the woman allegedly stole an ambulance and rammed several police cars following a short pursuit, according to Placerville’s police chief.

The woman was in the Marshall Hospital emergency room when she reportedly ran out of the ER and jumped into an El Dorado County ambulance parked outside just after 10 a.m. Sunday, Placerville police chief George Nielsen said.

Three Placerville police officers chased the ambulance during a three-to-five minute pursuit before the ambulance turned in to a driveway on the 3000 block of Cedar Ravine Road.

Nielsen said when the woman became trapped at the top of the driveway, she rammed the officers cars with the 6,000-pound ambulance. “She drove up a driveway at Cedar Ravine Road and that’s when she rammed the three squad cars, the three patrol cars,” he said.

Fearing for their safety, one of the officers fired several shots into the ambulance, striking and killing the suspect, Nielsen said. “We believe that one officer shot perhaps three to five shots.”

One nearby neighbor said he awoke to hear gunshots. “(My sister) came in my room and said gunshots just rang out. And I said, I thought I heard something,” said next door neighbor Mark Stringfellow.

Placerville police and El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department personnel were working as part of a multi-agency investigation into the officer involved shooting, Nielsen said.

The 40-year-old woman’s identity was not immediately released. A Marshall Hospital spokesperson said they could not comment on why the woman was in the emergency room or how she was able to steal the ambulance.

Stringfellow, who says he ran out to see the ambulance apparently stuck at a steep angle at the end of the driveway, wonders if too much force was used. “Seems like a lot of excessive force for somebody driving an ambulance, stealing an ambulance,” he said.

According to Nielsen, it’s not clear if the ambulance was actually stuck when the suspect was shot, and he said the officer appeared to be following proper protocol. ”

The principles of defending their life and the life of others from great bodily harm or death,that’s really what the mindset of the officers is. And when they feel like they’re in grave danger, then they use deadly force,” he said.

The officer who shot the woman was placed on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.


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EMS Members Under Review After Man Mistakenly Declared Dead

Posted on 31 March 2010 by wyoskibum

GLENARDEN, Md. – Two paramedics from the Prince George’s County EMS Department are on limited public contact status after they said a man was dead who was later found to be alive.

That man, identified as George Waters, 70, is now dead. Waters’ daughter told the Washington Post her father died Saturday night at a local hospital.

The ordeal began Saturday around noon when the Glenarden Police Department asked the county’s fire/EMS units to help on a possible deceased person call. A unit arrived at a residence in the 8600 block of Glenarden Parkway within four minutes and the two EMS members who have yet to be identified concurred the man was in fact dead.

At about 1:30 p.m., an official from the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Forensic Services summoned the Fire/EMS Department to return to the scene because the man was displaying signs that he was alive. That is when an official from the county’s medical examiner’s office arrived and determined the man was still alive.The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

An internal investigation is now underway. Sources tell ABC 7 News the man had a medical condition that gives off a foul odor and causes swelling.

When asked if the incident concerns her, neighbor Estella Thompson said, ” Sure…we all live here, we are concerned about each other. ”

In fact, the discrepancy concerns many elderly residents who live in the same complex.

“Well, I think it was bad judgment on the part of the medical people that came out,” said Leo Colter, a neighbor.

Many in the community hope this sort of thing never happens again.

“You got to check guys. You can’t just look at him and say he’s dead,” said neighbor Leon Hurley. “Have a doctor or somebody there.”

Police have interviewed the two paramedics responsible.


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3 crew killed in medical chopper crash in Tenn.

Posted on 26 March 2010 by wyoskibum

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — A medical helicopter crashed in a thunderstorm in western Tennessee early Thursday, killing a pilot and two nurses on a return trip from delivering a patient. There were no survivors.

Another medical helicopter had declined to make a flight in the area at the time because of the weather.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt in Nashville said the flight crashed in a field near Brownsville around 6 a.m. CDT.

Haywood County Sheriff Melvin Bond said nearby factory workers reported seeing a large burst of lightning, followed by an orange glow in the area of the crash.

He said the helicopter crew was communicating with its base when radio contact was lost. The pilot had given no indication of a problem, he said.

“It was totally burnt,” Bond said of the wreckage. Fire-blackened debris could be seen spread across part of the field and one rotor blade stuck straight up from the ground.

Authorities said the helicopter had flown a patient from Parsons to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and was returning to its base in Brownsville when it went down a few miles from its destination.

“The pilot was not in contact with air traffic controllers at the time of the crash and there had been no indication of problems,” said Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration in Fort Worth, Texas. Lunsford said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.

“They (investigators) will look at everything from the aircraft to the weather,” Lunsford said. “As the NTSB says, ‘man, machine and environment.’”

Rich Okulski, a supervisor in the Memphis office of the National Weather Service, said there were thunderstorms in the area at the time and weather could have played a role in the crash.

Okulski said the agency doesn’t have an observer in Brownsville. But at the time of the crash, a thunderstorm was in progress at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson, about 25 miles east of Brownsville, and a line of thunderstorms had cleared Memphis, about 55 miles southwest.

Julie Heavrin, a spokeswoman for Air Evac Lifeteam, said from company headquarters in West Plains, Mo., that the weather at the time was considered too dangerous for their helicopters to fly.

She could not say whether the call was about the same patient who was airlifted by Hospital Wing, but said the request was for an air transfer from Parsons to Jackson at 4:02 a.m.

Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the NTSB, said a team was leaving Washington at midday to examine the crash site. He said the team will be on site for three to five days and a preliminary report would be released about 10 days later.

The flight was operated by Hospital Wing, a nonprofit air medical transport service with headquarters in Memphis and branches in Oxford, Miss., and Brownsville. It operates five helicopters.

Jamie Carter, a company board member, said the helicopter was a Eurocraft Astar model and one of the newest in Hospital Wing’s fleet.

He said it was the first company accident since it began operating in 1986.

“We are suspending operations with the service until we can get our arms around what happened,” Carter said.

The branch in Brownsville opened in 2004 serving 26 counties in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas, the company Web site says.

The crash scene is near U.S. 70 and about 55 miles northeast of Memphis. The site is an agricultural area with dirt roads and few houses nearby.

Improving the safety of emergency medical services flights has been on the NTSB’s “most wanted improvements” list since 2008, a year when the industry suffered a record number of fatalities.

There were 41 people killed in 11 EMS helicopter accidents between December 2007 and February 2010, according to an NTSB report.

It said the pressure that crews face to respond quickly during difficult flight conditions, like darkness or bad weather, has led to increased fatal accidents.

Last fall, the NTSB urged the government to impose stricter controls on emergency helicopter operators, including requiring the use of autopilots, night-vision systems and flight data recorders.


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One hospitalized after ambulance collides with car in Liberty

Posted on 26 March 2010 by wyoskibum

LIBERTY, KY — A two-car wreck involving a Russell County ambulance landed one person in the hospital Thursday afternoon.

Liberty Police Chief Steve Garrett said the ambulance, driven by Michael Loy of Jamestown, was making a regular transport of a patient to Lexington when it collided with a vehicle driven by Rutilio Gonzalez of Hustonville along U.S. 127 near McDonald’s in Liberty.

Loy looked down briefly, and when he looked back up the light he was approaching had turned red, Garrett said. Gonzalez, who had a green light, pulled into the intersection out of Tarter Industries as the ambulance approached, he said.

The ambulance hit the driver’s side door of Gonzalez’s vehicle.

“It sustained major damage to the car,” Garrett said. “The door was caved in really far on the driver’s side.”

EMS responders used a Jaws of Life device to take the door off of Gonzalez’s vehicle. Gonzalez was transported to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center with shoulder injuries, but was alert and oriented after the wreck, Garrett said.

The attendant in the back of the ambulance complained of back pain following the accident, but no one in the ambulance was seriously injured. The ambulance’s charge was taken by Casey County EMS to Lexington.

The ambulance, a 2010 model with 8,000 miles on it, sustained moderate, repairable damage to its front right corner.


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Cherokee County EMS Director Arrested

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

Cherokee County, SC –

Mitch Stewart, director of Cherokee County EMS, was arrested Tuesday morning according to the Spartanburg County Sheriffs Office.

The Sheriffs Office confirms the charge is Criminal Domestic Violence. The report states Stewart twisted his wife’s arm, and threatened to kill her. He left the scene and was detained in Boiling Springs a short time later, and transported to jail. Deputies say he had a gun in his possession.

The incident allegedly happened around 9 am Tuesday morning.

Stewart was released from jail on $3,000 bond shortly after six Tuesday night.

On his way out of jail, he told News Channel 7′s Jonathan Carlson, the situation is a misunderstanding, and he hopes to keep his job.

Upstate Carolina Medical Center, which oversees EMS, declined to comment on the situation or if he would remain employed, and who is currently running the department.


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Ravenstahl punishes 4 EMS workers

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

At 5:50 a.m. on Feb. 6, more than 3 1/2 hours after Curtis Mitchell and his girlfriend began calling 911 to summon help for his abdominal pain, an ambulance idled at Second Avenue and West Elizabeth Street in Hazelwood.

The ambulance was about four blocks from the couple’s home, but citing poor driving conditions in a major snowstorm, acting paramedic crew chief Josie Dimon wanted Mr. Mitchell to walk across the Elizabeth Street Bridge to them.

By 6:09 a.m., according to a city investigation and 911 recordings, Ms. Dimon had grown tired of waiting.

“He ain’t (expletive) comin’ down, and I ain’t waitin’ all day for him,” she told a colleague, crew chief Kim Long, at the dispatch center. “I mean, what the (expletive), this ain’t no cab service.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on Tuesday announced discipline against Ms. Dimon, Ms. Long and two other EMS workers, saying they didn’t do enough to help Mr. Mitchell, 50, who died after he and his girlfriend, Sharon Edge, called 911 10 times in 30 hours.

By the time an ambulance arrived Feb. 7, Mr. Mitchell had died for reasons that remain undetermined.

Ms. Dimon, an 11-year veteran, faces a five-day unpaid suspension and possible termination. Facing three-day unpaid suspensions are Ms. Long, who has been with EMS 19 years, and district chiefs Norman Auvil and Ron Curry, who have been with the service 31 years and 34 years, respectively.

Ms. Long was stationed at the dispatch center, where she helps dispatchers process medical calls; Ms. Dimon, Mr. Auvil and Mr. Curry were in the field.

Ms. Dimon and Ms. Long are members of the paramedics union, while Mr. Auvil and Mr. Curry are nonunion. None of the four has a history of discipline problems, city officials said. In August, Mr. Auvil was named “Rescue Technician of the Year” by the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council.

Ms. Long will receive a separate three-day suspension for another storm-related call in which a North Side mother of 2-year-old twins was told to walk to an ambulance to receive care for one of the children, city Public Safety Director Michael Huss said.

Union President Anthony Weinmann said he would challenge the discipline for Ms. Long and Ms. Dimon. The district chiefs may appeal their suspensions to Mr. Huss.

Mr. Huss said paramedics could have walked to Mr. Mitchell or summoned firefighters or 4-wheel-drive vehicles to reach his home during the snowstorm.

But it wasn’t only a lack of resourcefulness that troubled Mr. Ravenstahl and Mr. Huss; rather, they expressed outrage at the paramedics’ lack of compassion.

At one point, told about repeated calls from Mr. Mitchell’s home, Mr. Auvil said, “How about that? He can wait,” according to dispatch center tapes.

“That type of philosophy, that type of culture, does need to change,” Mr. Huss said.

Ms. Edge, briefed by Mr. Huss on the discipline, said she was sorry a medic might lose her job but believed “somebody has to answer for what happened.”

The couple’s first call for help came in to 911 at 2:09 a.m. Feb. 6.

By 3:38 a.m., an ambulance, Medic 5, got stuck in snow. It was sent away — at the request of Mr. Mitchell or Ms. Edge, the report said — when Mr. Mitchell couldn’t walk to the medics.

Another ambulance — Medic 8, with Ms. Dimon in charge — was dispatched at 5:33 a.m. and arrived at Second Avenue and West Elizabeth Street by 5:50 a.m.

After making the taxi service remark at 6:09 a.m., Ms. Dimon said minutes later, “Is he on his way? Because we are not going to wait all day for him.” At 6:15 a.m., the report said, Mr. Mitchell, unable to walk, canceled the call.

A third ambulance, Medic 7, was dispatched at 8:53 p.m. Feb. 6 and had arrived at West Elizabeth Street and Chaplain Way by 9:17 p.m. Medics got out of the ambulance and began looking for Mr. Mitchell’s home at 5161 Chaplain, but a dispatcher told medics that Mr. Mitchell was walking to meet them.

That wasn’t the case. At 9:28 p.m., Ms. Edge called 911 to say Mr. Mitchell was sleeping, and a dispatcher sent the ambulance away.

The report said Ms. Long had numerous phone conversations with Mr. Mitchell or his girlfriend; knew he was too ill to walk; and failed to impress that information upon colleagues and a district chief in the field. It said she also failed to get a 4-wheel drive vehicle to the scene.

The report said Mr. Auvil, a night-shift district chief, made inappropriate transmissions over the radio; failed to take steps to determine the seriousness of Mr. Mitchell’s condition; and failed to determine whether additional resources should be deployed to reach him.

According to the report, Ms. Dimon failed to call for a 4-wheel drive vehicle to reach Mr. Mitchell; failed to go after Mr. Mitchell on foot; made inappropriate radio transmissions; and failed to render the respect due a patient.

The report said Mr. Curry, the daylight-shift district chief, failed to determine the seriousness of Mr. Mitchell’s situation and decide whether additional action was warranted.

The city announced no discipline against dispatchers or the crews of Medics 5 and 7.

Announcement of the suspensions capped an emotional day at the City-County Building.

About 50 paramedics attended a Tuesday morning City Council meeting, calling themselves scapegoats for the city’s overall failure to handle the Feb. 5-6 storm.

Medics said they trudged through deep snow, worked around downed power lines and shoveled out stuck ambulances, all while answering an unusually high number of calls.

Union officials said the city’s decision to discipline medics flew in the face of a state report, which found gaps in EMS communication and logistics but no violation of laws or regulations governing patient care.

Mr. Weinmann, the union president, said medics on all three ambulances dispatched to Mr. Mitchell’s home Feb. 6 aborted their calls only after a dispatcher or district chief told them to do so.

“They were simply following orders,” Mr. Weinmann said.

But Mr. Huss didn’t want to hear it.

If medics had shown more effort, he said, the calls wouldn’t have been aborted in the first place.

He said other medics, plus police officers and firefighters, did a “marvelous job” during the storm. In emergencies, he said, public servants must “step up.”

Mr. Ravenstahl called the 911 tapes chilling.

“Oh, well,” an unidentified paramedic said at one point of Mr. Mitchell’s calls. “He’ll be fine.”

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4 Firefighters Injured By Combative Suspec

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Columbus police called for a fire department medic squad early Sunday morning when a man they were dealing with on a domestic-disturbance call seemed to be experiencing breathing problems.

In the end, four of the medical responders reported injuries from the struggling, 400-pound patient who has been charged with two counts of assaulting EMS personnel, a fourth-degree felony.

The man, Apostle Sumlin, was still being questioned by police at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, six hours after the initial call came.

One medic was admitted to OSU Medical Center East for treatment for injuries to the face sustained when the suspect reportedly grabbed a set of handcuffs and flailed out at medics.

Three others reported back or knee injuries, resulting from a struggle with the man.

As for the original reason for the police call, there may still be charges related to domestic violence that will be filed.

The incident occurred on Harvard Avenue in Columbus at 3 a.m.


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Firefighter Accused Of Watching Woman Shower Arrested

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

FORT PIERCE, Fla. –Fort Pierce police have arrested a firefighter after a paramedic intern reported seeing a man peering down at her from the ceiling as she was taking a shower in the women’s bathroom at the fire station.

Carlos Marti was booked at the St. Lucie County Jail on a voyeurism charge Friday.  According to an incident report, a battalion chief at St. Lucie County Fire District Station No. 15 said she saw “a male figure looking down at her from the ceiling as she was taking a shower.”  The report said the woman helped provide a sketch of the suspect and told officers she wanted to “press charges.”

In a statement, St. Lucie County Fire District Chief Ron Parrish said Marti has been released from jail and is on unpaid administrative leave.

Parrish said Marti confessed to the voyeurism. Parrish put out a statement on Friday saying,  “To the female victim, who is a paramedic intern, this incident should never have occurred and is inexcusable behavior.  The district hopes the actions of one firefighter will not affect her future career choices.”

According to police reports, Mari said it was only meant to be a prank.  He said he was trying to make the intern feel like she was part of the team.

“I’ve never seen or suspected him of anything like that,” said Marti’s neighbor, Laura Schear.  “He seemed really nice.  I never thought he would do that.”

Schear and her daughter, Lillian, said they were caught off guard by the news that their next-door neighbor had been arrested and accused of voyeurism. “That’s very surprising,” she said. Marti was trusted by many in his quiet Vero Beach neighborhood.

“He should be setting an example,” said his neighbor, Carol Carson.  “Especially (for) children (who) look up to the firefighters and the policemen and expect better of them.”


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State clears EMS workers in Pittsburgh snow death

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

PITTSBURGH, PA – The state health department says Pittsburgh emergency workers didn’t violate state laws when they asked a man who later died to walk to them during a snowstorm.

Health department spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman says the agency found no violations of state emergency response laws in the hours before 50-year-old Curtis Mitchell died February 7.

Mitchell and his wife repeatedly called 911 seeking help for his abdominal pain during a winter storm that dropped 20 inches of snow on the city.

Medics asked Mitchell to walk to an ambulance because of hazardous road conditions but he was in too much pain. He died after waiting 30 hours for help.

Autopsy results are pending, awaiting toxicology test results.

The city could soon release the findings of its own investigation.


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5 Sent To Hospital After Crash Involving Ambulance

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Five people were sent to the hospital Wednesday night after a wreck involving a car and ambulance. The accident happened around 11 p.m. at the intersection of Taylorsville Road and Furman Boulevard. Metro Police said the ambulance was taking an elderly man to the hospital when the car hit the ambulance, despite the fact investigators said the ambulance’s lights were on. Two people in the car, both EMS workers and the patient were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Police said the crash serves as a good reminder for other drivers.  “The message is always be aware of emergency vehicles coming through,” said LMPD representative Dwight Mitchell.  “People have on air conditioners, music, other things that may distract them.  A lot of times they aren’t able to hear sirens or see lights. “The investigation continues. No charges have been filed.


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Cops looking for ambulance stolen from North Brunswick garage

Posted on 24 March 2010 by wyoskibum

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ— Authorities are searching for an ambulance that was stolen Wednesday from a North Brunswick auto repair shop, police said.The 1999 Ford ambulance owned by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick was dropped off for service on Monday at Vespia Tire Centers, 557 Milltown Road, Lt. Roger Reinson said. It was reported stolen about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday after someone from the hospital came to pick it up, only to find it missing.

The white and yellow vehicle, which has a number 58 on its body, had been ready for pickup since Tuesday, Reinson said. The department has notified the New Jersey State Police.


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