Driver Charged in Palo Alto Fatal Ambulance Crash - @

Driver Charged in Palo Alto Fatal Ambulance Crash


Will Oremus | | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The driver of a private ambulance that crashed in Palo Alto on Dec. 22, killing a 56-year-old female patient, has been charged with misdemeanor manslaughter in Santa Clara County Superior Court, authorities said.

John Curiel, a 19-year-old Concord resident, surrendered and is out on $10,000 bail while awaiting trial, said Palo Alto police Agent Dan Ryan.

An investigation found that the cause of the crash was Curiel's speed and his failure to follow a curve on University Avenue, Ryan said. Together they add up to "overall negligence," he said, the basis for the manslaughter charge.

The ambulance, owned by Concord-based Bay Medic, hit a tree near Chaucer Street and rolled onto its left side, severely injuring the patient, Alba Perez of Pittsburg. She died Christmas Eve at Stanford Hospital.

The police probe also found that Perez had not been properly strapped in, Ryan said. She was supposed to be belted to a gurney, which in turn was supposed to be secured to the interior of the ambulance. Instead, she was sitting partially upright on the gurney, which was free to roll around, Ryan said.

Charges were considered, but in the end not filed, for the two emergency medical technicians in the rear, he added.

Perez, who had back problems, was being transported to a routine therapy appointment, authorities said at the time. The ambulance did not have its lights or sirens on.

Curiel, who told police after the crash he had been knocked out and didn't remember it, still has not been able to explain what happened, Ryan said Tuesday.

In the wake of the accident, police posted a sign at the scene asking anyone who witnessed it to call with information. Ryan said a doctor saw it and came forward with facts that helped police sort out what happened.

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Legal and Ethical, Vehicle Operations

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Press Conference, East Village Explosion and Collapse

Fire is contained to four buildings; 12 people have been injured.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Mayor Adds Ambulances to Peak Demand Period

10 additional ambulances will be on the streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Utah Commission Privatizes Ambulance Service

Mayors in Iron County loose management fight.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Delay Raises Concerns over Response Times

Officers give up after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Patient Carry during Snowstorm

Firefighters, medics and officers lend a hand in Halifax.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Terror Attack in Tunisia

19 people killed outside of a museum.
More >