2 Richmond ambulance drivers charged in 2 crashes since October

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two ambulance drivers with the Richmond Ambulance Authority have been charged in separate crashes since last month, 8News learned Friday.

The first crash occurred on the morning of Oct. 15, according to a Richmond police spokesperson, after a Richmond Ambulance Authority driver tried to make a U-turn from the right lane in the 2600 block of Semmes Avenue. The ambulance was traveling westbound in the right lane when the driver attempted the U-turn and struck another vehicle going west in the left lane.

Dishamel Cherry, the driver of the car that was hit, spoke with 8News on Friday about the experience.

“I was able to slam on my brakes,” Cherry recalled. “I was able to try and brace for the impact so I slid a little bit and went right into the side.”

The ambulance driver, identified only as a female, was eventually charged with committing an improper turn.

Cherry told 8News that the Richmond Ambulance Authority has not taken responsibility for the crash.

“Recently they’re just denying the claim,” he said, “they’re not going to pay for the car. I don’t have any injuries but they should pay for the car for the damages.”

Officials with the Richmond Ambulance Authority told 8News an investigation to see who is at fault is still underway.

Another crash involving an ambulance with the Richmond Ambulance Authority took place Wednesday at the intersection of Hull Street and Belt Boulevard. Police said the ambulance was traveling eastbound on Hull Street as it entered the intersection.

A Richmond Ambulance Authority spokesman, Mark Tenia, confirmed Wednesday night that the ambulance involved was responding to a call with its “lights and sirens on at the time of the crash.”

A sedan moving northbound on Belt Boulevard entered the intersection at the same time as the ambulance, leading to a collision that overturned the ambulance. The four people hurt in the multi-vehicle crash are expected to be OK, police said.

On Thursday, authorities charged the ambulance driver, who was only identified as a male, with failure to yield right-of-way. The Richmond Ambulance Authority said the driver has been taken off field duty at this time.

“We’re still looking at all the facts of the case, doing an internal investigation to find out if the driver did anything wrong or if he didn’t do anything wrong,” Tenia told 8News on Friday. “This employee has worked with us for years and by all accounts has been a good employee with the Richmond Ambulance Authority and has a pretty good record.”

Investigators for Richmond police’s crash team said the driver was charged despite having the ambulance’s sirens and lights activated because “emergency vehicle operators must also show reasonable caution to make sure other vehicles have cleared intersections before driving through,” a police spokesperson told 8News.

“We take safety very seriously,” Tenia continued. “We have reached out to all our field employees as we always do and told them to review safety practices and protocols.”

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