Driver Reaches for Cellphone and Collides with OH Ambulance

Ohio State Highway Patrol at the scene of an ambulance crash.
Photo/Ohio State Highway Patrol staff report

The Repository, Canton, Ohio


A Carrollton driver collided with an ambulance Tuesday after he reached down for a cellphone and took his eyes off the road, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The crash occurred at 10:29 a.m. on state Route 43 between 17th Street SE and Millerton Street SE near Waynesburg in Stark County.

William L. McMillen, 60, was cited for left of center and distracted driving. He was traveling north on Route 43 in his 2005 Ford Ranger and dropped his cell phone while going around a curve in the road, the patrol said. He reached down for the phone and his truck went left of center into a southbound ambulance.

The private Emergency Medical Transport (EMT) ambulance was driven by 28-year-old Alanie R. Wood of Strasburg. Wood and another EMT employee Geoffrey D. Emerson, 43, of Carrollton, were taken to a local hospital — as did McMillen.

All three had non-life-threatening injuries, the patrol said.

There were no patients in the ambulance at the time of the crash, state troopers said.

“When you take your eyes off the road — even for just a few seconds — you are putting your life and the lives of others in danger,” said Lt. Leo Shirkey, commander of the patrol’s Canton post.

Troopers described distract driving as a non-driving activity with the potential to distract a person from the primary task of driving and increasing the risk of a crash.

Distractions can be:

Visual – Taking eyes off the road Manual – Taking hands off the wheel Cognitive – Taking the mind off driving

Texting while driving is an example of all three distractions. Troopers said a text message can take a driver’s eyes off the road for average of 4.6 seconds, which is the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour.

“Driving distracted is unsafe, irresponsible and its consequences can be devastating for families,” Shirkey said.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Patrol: Driver reaches for cellphone and collides with ambulance in Stark County


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