EUGENE, Ore. — A 57-year-old Junction City woman was killed early Wednesday afternoon when her sport utility vehicle crossed the centerline and crashed head-on into a city ambulance on Clear Lake Road near the Eugene Airport, state police said.
The ambulance was occupied by two firefighter-paramedics employed by the Eugene/Springfield fire department, and a patient who was being transported to a local hospital. All three suffered injuries that police described as minor.
Police identified the SUV’s driver as Patricia L. Morgan. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they expect to release the names of the paramedics and patient today, after they are confirmed by the crash scene’s lead investigator.
The collision happened about 12:15 p.m. on a stretch of road northwest of the Eugene city limits, when Morgan’s westbound SUV crossed the road’s centerline and slammed into the eastbound ambulance, police said. The ambulance driver couldn’t avoid the oncoming vehicle, police said.
While the ambulance’s driver struggled to wriggle free from his seat immediately after the wreck, the medic who was with the patient in the vehicle’s rear compartment got out and approached Morgan to determine if he could provide her with medical aid, Deputy Fire Chief Randy DeWitt said.
“He realized that her injuries were significant, and called in additional resources and medics to the scene,” DeWitt said.
The ambulance’s three occupants were transported by another ambulance to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.
The ambulance involved in the crash did not have its emergency lights and siren activated at the time of the incident, because it was carrying a patient in a non-emergency situation, police said.
An investigation into the wreck’s cause is continuing.
DeWitt said the two medics are “young, experienced guys” who will be offered time off and counseling to help them deal with any after-effects of the crash.
“There’s an emotional impact for anyone involved in an accident with a fatality,” he said.
DeWitt added that despite the fact that firefighter-paramedics in the Eugene area respond to dozens of calls every day, crashes involving local emergency vehicles are very rare. The ambulance involved in Wednesday’s collision was totaled, he said.
The roadway was closed for four hours as officials investigated the crash scene.
Courtesy of the Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.
Oregon State Police Investigation Update
Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of Lane County Sheriff's Office, is continuing the investigation into the cause of Wednesday afternoon's head-on crash on Clear Lake Road west of Green Hill Road northwest of Eugene. The crash resulted in the death of an adult female and injuries to three people in an ambulance. The names of the two paramedics and ambulance patient are released in this update.
On July 31, 2013 at approximately 11:50 a.m., a Eugene Fire & EMS ambulance occupied by two paramedics and one patient was eastbound on Clear Lake Road traveling through a curve when a westbound sport utility vehicle with one occupant crossed the centerline. The ambulance driver couldn't avoid the oncoming vehicle and they collided head-on.
The driver of the sport utility vehicle, Patricia L. Morgan, age 57, from Junction City, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The two paramedics and patient in the ambulance were transported by another ground ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend with non-life threatening injuries. The ambulance was on a non-emergency transport with no lights or siren activated.
The ambulance driver is identified as Firefighter/EMT-I Jason Lockett, age 26. In the rear of the ambulance was Fire Engineer/Paramedic Mark Underhill, age 31, and patient Robert C. Cramblit, age 61, from Junction City. According to Chief Randy DeWitt, Lockett and Underhill were treated and released from the hospital.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers from the Springfield Area Command office are investigating.
OSP was assisted at the scene by Lane County Sheriff's Office, Eugene Police Department, Lane Rural Fire Rescue, Eugene Fire & EMS, and ODOT. Clear Lake Road was opened about 4:15 p.m. to area traffic.