EMS to the Rescue
The driver of the Ford F150 stared in disbelief1. The powder blue Olds she had been taiiling had just executed a lighting fast lane change. Into the empty bus lane. And, rocketed straight into the concrete sound barrier marking the end of the bus lane. The brake lights never came on.
Two of the concrete slabs that made up the barrier had cracked and plummeted down on the Olds. The truck skidded to a stop. Leaving ten feet of rubber.
The driver pulled out her cell phone. Dialed 911. “A car just crashed into the concrete sound barrier at Crowchild Trail and fifty fourth avenue. Send an ambulance.”
She hung up. She had been partying. Hard. Was probably over the limit. She started the truck rolling. Booted it up to 80. And, was gone into the night. Forever unknown.
EMS 29 had just finished delivering a patient to Rocky View Hospital Emergency. Chuck and Stuart, EMS professionals, had just become available for service when they received the call. The communication system came alive, “EMS 29 stand by to roll. We have a report of a single vehicle accident. The vehicle apparently went off the road. Smashed into a concrete barrier wall at the intersection of Fifty Fourth Avenue and Crowchild Trail.”
EMS 29 was manned this shift by Stuart. EMS, driving. And, Chuck, EMT, attending in the back. In spite of the name, Chuck was female. Stuart was red haired, Irish. Face a mass of orange freckles. He tried to live up to his nickname, Speed. He prided himself on being soonest to the accident scene. Chuck was a buxom red head with a reputation for being a softy. Their coworkers called them the Howdy Doody Show. But, the fact that Stuart liked to drive and Chuck liked to care for patients created a partnership made in heaven.
Fortunately the scene of the accident was mere blocks from Rockyview. That didn’t prevent Stuart from operating the unit full out. He flipped the siren on and said to dispatch, “EMS 29 is rolling.” He drove onto the access road that leads to Rockyview. Turned left. And, within a block they were up to eighty kilometres per hour and Stuart was doing what he did best: driving.
In spite of Stuart’s best efforts a Calgary Fire Department truck was already on scene when they arrived at 3:33 am. The truck was parked on the roadway next to an powder blue Oldsmobile that was embedded in the concrete wall that served as a sound barrier. Stuart pulled the ambulance up over the sidewalk, next to the fire truck.
Fire trucks always accompanied EMS units because the fire truck carries the breathing equipment that any patient might require. For some reason the city emergency services had decided that EMS units would not carry breathing apparatus. Fortunately they also carried the equipment required to gain access to the car doors. It was obvious to Stuart that this equipment would be needed to extract the driver.
Excerpt from CRASH! Memories of a Healing Journey, All Rights Reserved, Copyright Lyle T. Lachmuth
1Events recreated based on the Ambulance Record and police reports.