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Jury Awards $225K over Fatal Indiana Ambulance Crash

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A jury has ruled that a southern Indiana fire department must pay $225,000 to the estate of a 75-year-old woman killed when an ambulance hit her car in 2009.

JEMS: Preventing Ambulance Accidents  Should be a Bigger Focus in EMS

The Clark County jury reached the verdict in last week's trial over the crash between the Sellersburg Volunteer Fire Department ambulance and a car driven by Opal Couch of Jeffersonville, the News and Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/151sGxp ).

Rodney Scott, an attorney for the fire department, said he expects to appeal the decision. Scott said the ambulance had its lights and sirens activated and Couch was using a cellphone when the crash happened.

"I am deeply disappointed with the jurors' verdict," Scott said. "It is a wrongful-death case, and these are always tough verdicts."

The ambulance driver testified he saw Couch's car come to a stop partially in the intersection, but then continued making a left turn as the ambulance entered the intersection. The ambulance was going about 60 mph when it struck the side of Couch's car on the four-lane Lewis and Clark Parkway in Clarksville.

Carl Reynolds, an attorney for Couch's family, said the jury's award was justifiable compensation. The money will go to her estate, as her husband died about four months after the crash.

Reynolds said he hopes the verdict will lead to safer driving by emergency responders.

"I'm sure they hated this as much as anyone in the world and are very sorry what happened to the (Couch) family," Reynolds said.

Sellersburg Fire Chief Boyce Adams said he would have to wait until the court process is completed and talk with the insurance company before knowing the impact on the department in the town about 10 miles north of Louisville, Ky.
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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., http://www.newsandtribune.com



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