Truck Driver May Cited in North Dakota Ambulance Crash

A crash involving a loaded ambulance at a busy intersection in the oil patch remains under investigation.

The crash occurred late Friday afternoon when the ambulance was pulling off of Highway 68 onto Highway 85 toward Williston and was struck by an oncoming eastbound pickup, according to North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Jamie Huschka.

Watford City ambulance personnel LeRoy DeFoe, Jim Johnsrud and Yvonne Johnsrud and the ambulance occupants, mother Ashley Amato, 19, and her infant, were treated and released at a Williston hospital, according to Huschka.

A second ambulance from Alexander was called in after the Watford City one was hit and sustained severe damage to the front end.

Huschka said the driver of the striking vehicle, Paul Graham, 45, of Watford City may be cited pending the outcome of the investigation. He said the driver refused medical assistance.

“There is a lot going on here,” he said of the incident investigation.

Huschka said it appears that alcohol was not a factor in the crash, though it’s unclear why the driver didn’t slow or stop to give the ambulance right-of-way when other oncoming vehicles had.

The original ambulance call was made for the baby who apparently fell from an unsecured car seat at the Wild Bison Truck Stop at the highway intersection. The baby and its mother were being transported in the ambulance when the crash occurred.

The Department of Transportation has plans to slow traffic through the intersection to 55 mph and install signal lighting.

The extra safety features are part of the department’s efforts to improve conditions on what is reported to be one of the busiest and deadliest highways in North Dakota.

(Reach Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or lauren@westriv.com)

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