For those of us accustomed to living in a major metropolitan area, the sound of sirens is a familiar part of the backdrop of everyday life. When we are on the road, sirens mean we need to pull over and clear twhe way for a police or emergency vehicle coming through. Unfortunately, car accidents are sometimes unavoidable consequences of this process.
That being said, there are times when the at-fault driver is the very person operating the emergency vehicle. For instance, Chicago police recently arrested a 31-year-old man driving a private ambulance with lights and sirens on after his vehicle crashed into a pickup truck in an intersection. Upon investigation, police learned the ambulance driver was drunk behind the wheel.
Thankfully, there were no passengers or patients in the ambulance at the time of the crash. The alleged drunk driver was on his way to pick up a patient from a nearby medical center. According to news reports, police smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath and noticed other signs of intoxication as well. A test revealed this blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
In addition to charges of aggravated drunk driving, the ambulance driver was charged with several other offenses as well. These include negligent driving, disobeying a stop signal and failure to carry a driver’s licence.
Most Chicago motorists are more than willing to pull over in order to let an emergency vehicle get to where it is urgently needed. But accidents like this threaten to erode the trust that we place in drivers of emergency vehicles. While this alleged drunk driver now faces criminal charges, accident victims may also wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against him as well.
Source: CBS Chicago, “Police: Drunk Ambulance Driver Caused Crash,” Dec. 11, 2013