WARRENSBURG, Mo. — Police are still investigating a deadly weekend crash involving an ambulance.
Emergency officials in Johnson County, Missouri said their driver wasn’t speeding when she crashed on Sunday evening.
A patient being taken to Kansas City died in the crash. The patient was later identified as 61-year-old Raymond D. Miller. Police originally identified the victim killed in the crash as a female.
The ambulance driver was released from the hospital on Sunday, and her male paramedic partner was released on Monday afternoon.
Managers with Johnson County Ambulance District said Miller was being transferred from Western Missouri Medical Center to Research Medical Center for a simple gastric procedure.
Chief Shane Lockard, who leads that first response unit, said those ambulances are equipped with sensor devices that record speed and other incidents. He said the sensor showed the driver was driving 61 miles per hour in an area zoned for 65 miles per hour.
Miller died in the Sunday evening crash. Traffic on U.S. 71 Highway backed up for miles. The remains of the ambulance were torn to shreds, damaging it beyond repair. It flipped over onto its roof several times in the crash.
“I can tell you directly, speaking to the EMT, that after she exited the vehicle, and found her partner, his first words, despite his own injuries, were ‘check on the patient.’ Unfortunately, it was not the outcome we wanted when she was able to make contact with that patient,” Lockard said on Monday.
Lockard would not speculate if Sunday’s high winds or mechanical error played a role in the wreck. The chief said a new ambulance would cost at least $300,000. It’s the first major ambulance crash he’s seen in his 30-year career.
“We show up every day with the intent to help other people and to be as safe as possible. We have an exceptionally strong safety record and processes here,” Lockard added.
Lockard said the ambulance wasn’t running lights or siren at the time of the crash. Kansas City police are managing the investigation.