ALAMEDA, Calif. -- April is set for the trial date of Louis Del Barba vs. American Medical Response, Inc., in Superior Court, County of Alameda (Calif.), for damages when an ambulance driven by the defendant hit a car driven by Mr. Del Barba. According to police reports, the ambulance was traveling about 70 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone during rush hour traffic. Mr. Del Barba had the right of way when he entered the intersection of Rose Avenue and Main Street. The ensuing crash caused catastrophic injuries to Mr. Del Barba, resulting in quadriplegia and brain damage. The plaintiff was wearing a shoulder and lap belt at the time of the crash (see also Terry O'Reilly).
AMR, a national company, which also owns and operates thousands of school buses, has a history of very serious accidents. Allowing poorly-trained drivers to far exceed speed limits in city traffic endangers all drivers, AMR officials admit.
Terry O'Reilly, attorney for Mr. Del Barba, noted that the ambulance was going far in excess of the speed allowed. "American Medical Response guidelines state that its ambulances can go 10 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit but Vehicle Code regulations clearly state that an ambulance has the duty of due care to ensure it does not cause an accident on the way to a response. This driver launched himself into a blind intersection without the slightest care for anyone who might be in it."
Witnesses say that the ambulance was driving so fast that no one in the intersection saw or heard any warning until the ambulance slammed into Mr. Del Barba.
The Del Barba family has farmed in Oakley since 1935 and are well-known and popular members of this community in the Sacramento Delta. The community is stunned at Mr. Del Barba's injury.
It will take more than $20,000,000 to care for Mr. Del Barba for his predicted lifespan.