Ambulance Wreck Update - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/02/03

Ambulance Wreck Update

The scene of the wreck. The scene of the wreck.

Usually a ride in the ambulance means you're in good hands. But for one woman, the ride turned deadly. The ambulance that was bringing Martha Smith from Toombs County to Savannah yesterday, crashed. The accident happened in the Joyners Corner area of Chatham County along Route 204. Police say it all happened because of the road, the driver, and what she was driving.

The debris still sits at the bottom of a ditch on Highway 204. Smith was in a Meadows Regional Ambulance to get further medical help. Driver Rhonda Taylor was bringing her from Vidalia to Savannah for treatment.

"The vehicle started to hydroplane between John Carter Road and Old River road," said Chatham County police spokesman Mike Wilson. "The vehicle spun out of control and went down the embankment."

Another ambulance picked up Smith and carried her to Memorial where she died. Taylor faces charges of driving too fast for conditions and defective equipment.

"The tires were extremely bald and did not have sufficient tread ware," said Wilson.

Back in Vidalia, leaders at Meadows Regional say this should never have happened.

"They go through a licensed EMS course that's part of their schooling, and I just learned that this driver completed a defensive driving course six months ago," said Cheryl Gay, a spokesperson for Meadows Regional.

The hospital also says it contracts a private company to inspect and maintain its fleet of five ambulances. They say the one involved in Thursday's accident, less than a year old, was serviced three weeks ago.

"Our sympathies go out to the families involved especially those of the deceased," said Gay.

According to Gay, Taylor has been an EMT for Meadows for three years, and the hospital has not taken action against her until they get their report from Chatham County police.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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