EXCLUSIVES
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Arkansas Bus Crash Puts Training into Perspective

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Experience handling some of the nation s most horrendous interstate wrecks put local paramedics and emergency personnel in good stead when called on to respond to the crash that killed three people Sunday night in East Arkansas.

Ambulances from every available agency in East Arkansas and Memphis converged on the scene 10 miles east of Forrest City when a charter bus loaded with 47 people crashed into a pickup, then was hit by an 18-wheeler.

We have done training for this often, and have started different drills, said Insp. Chris Brogdon, director of Emergency Medical Services for the West Memphis Fire Department.

In situations like that, this area works together, he said.

As many as 40 people were taken to hospitals, the most seriously injured to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, where four people remained in critical condition Tuesday, and to Le Bonheur Children s Medical Center, where two juveniles were in critical condition.

Three people were killed: Danny Okurily, 30, who had an address in Cordova, was driving the pickup. Raul Lopez, 58, of West Chicago, Ill., and Ana Contreras, 41, of Woodlands, Texas, were on the Tornado Bus Co. vehicle on its way from Chicago to Dallas.

Some were residents from Mexico who were returning from the Chicago area after visiting relatives; others were on their way to visit relatives in Mexico.

The bus driver, Felix Tapia, 28, of Brownsville, Texas, suffered minor injuries. He has been questioned by Arkansas State Police troopers, but the agency has not yet released details of what caused the crash.

Memphis Fire Department sent six ambulances to take 13 people, some of the most seriously injured, to Memphis hospitals.

We called for whoever could get out there, Brogdon said. Local hospitals were ready when victims started arriving.

When his units got there, Brogdon said, the victims were organized at a triage area into the critically injured, the noncritically injured, and those who couldn t be helped.

When his unit got there, Crittenden County Ambulance Service paramedic Brad Pendergraft said ambulances were lined up on both sides of the interstate.

Paramedics set about cutting into the damaged bus to pull out the injured.

They were cutting up the bus, trying to get to patients, he said. There was a lot of twisted metal.

Pendergraft transported two victims. One who spoke some English helped translate for the other. One patient, who lives in Mexico, was coming from Wisconsin after visiting a brother-in-law.

In such massively traumatic crashes, he said, head wounds, internal bleeding and spinal injuries are of utmost concern.

Pendergraft was in the second ambulance that made the scene of a bus crash near Marion on Oct. 9, 2004, that killed 15 people on their way from Chicago to the Tunica casinos.

RELATED ARTICLES

Understanding Why EMS Systems Fail

Learn to recognize trigger points that could ruin your system.

West River Ambulance Receives New Rig

West River Ambulance in Hettinger, ND recently received a much-needed upgrade from their 1992 rig. A 2014 Ford/AEV Type III Custom Conversion rig with a 6.8 ...

Unlikely Pairing Leads to Health Care Education Wins

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing and Harris County Emergency Corps (HCEC) have formed an unlikely pairin...

Know When and How Your Patient Can Legally Refuse Care

Refusal of care straddles the intersection of ethical, legal and scientific domains of prehospital practice.

Reflecting on 35 Years of Innovation in JEMS

Take a walk through the last 35 years of EMS in JEMS.

Readers Sound Off About Glove Use After Patient Care

How often are you susceptible to potentially unclean surfaces?

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts