Tire Focus Of Ambulance Crash Investigaton

Woman, 88, Dies In Wreck On Southern Connector

POSTED: 5:59 p.m. EDT October 1, 2002
UPDATED: 4:50 p.m. EDT October 2, 2002

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Investigators are focusing on tire-tread separation as they look for the cause of a deadly ambulance crash Tuesday afternoon on the Southern Connector.

An 88-year-old woman died and two men were injured when the ambulance crossed the median and overturned on the toll road, near U.S. 25, about 5 p.m.

The crash killed the patient being transported and left the two emergency workers with serious injuries.

The single-vehicle accident involved a Mobile Care ambulance used to transport patients for Greenville Hospital System.

 

The ambulance was taking Bertie Bell Logan of Fountain Inn from Hillcrest Hospital to Greenville Memorial when the crash occurred, according to Greenville County Emergency Medical Services director Bill Marcley.

Logan had been suffering from respiratory problems, investigators said.

Tim Bowers, a paramedic who was attending to Logan in the back of the ambulance, was seriously injured in the crash. He was airlifted to Greenville Memorial.

His condition was upgraded from critical to serious condition on Wednesday morning.

The driver of the ambulance, Emergency Medical Technician Wesley Ingram, was also injured in the crash and was listed in fair condition.

Witnesses told WYFF News 4's Nigel Robertson that the ambulance was traveling, apparently normally, in the northbound lanes when it went out of control.

It crossed the median and rolled repeatedly as it crossed into the southbound lanes and came to rest upside down.

Investigators said that the tread apparently separated from the ambulance's left rear tire, but that has not yet been identified as the cause of the crash.

The tire tread was found in the highway, just south of where the crash occurred.

Ambulance-driving instructors said that ambulances and other emergency vehicles can weigh as much as 15 tons and are much more difficult to drive than a car or pickup.

"The EMT or the paramedic who is driving has to pay attention and anticipate well in advance of getting to a traffic light or movement as to what he's going to do," Greenville County EMS Trainer John Rasmussen.

GHS said that it is waiting for the results of an investigation into the crash before commenting. That investigation could take as much as 30 days to complete.

According to South Carolina Department of Public Safety records, this is the first fatal accident to occur on the Southern Connector since it opened in February 2001.

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