Nashville police say excessive speed for road and weather conditions resulted in the death of two victims aboard a private ambulance Friday evening. The crash, which occurred on Interstate 40 near the exit for Charlotte Pike, killed a 36-year-old female patient who was riding in the back of the ambulance, as well as a 36-year-old medic.
At the time of the crash, the ambulance had been transporting the patient from Jackson-Madison County General Hospital to a hospital in Nashville. It lost control approaching a curve, causing it to depart from the roadway and strike a rock wall before coming back to rest in the eastbound lanes of I-40.
Both the patient and the medic were ejected from the ambulance, and were pronounced dead after being transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The driver of the ambulance suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was treated and released from the hospital, according to a statement released by West Tennessee Healthcare, the private company which owned the ambulance.
According to Nashville police, the driver had informed officers the ambulance had hydroplaned in the rain. They determined the preliminary cause of the crash to be excessive speed for the prevailing road and weather conditions. Witnesses also informed authorities that the ambulance did not have its sirens activated at the time of the crash.
Questions Remain Following Tragic Crash
Though officers have released a preliminary cause for the accident, many questions still remain, particularly when it comes to determining whether it could and should have been prevented, and who may be liable for the tragic resulting consequences. Investigations will likely focus on:
- Driver neglect – The preliminary police report indicates the ambulance driver may have been traveling as speeds which exceeded safe limits for roadway conditions at the time of the accident. Just as drivers can be held accountable for causing accidents as a result of speeding above the legal limit, they may also be held responsible for causing preventable wrecks as a result of driving too fast in dangerous conditions and poor weather.
- Safety failures – In addition to evaluating the driver’s role in the accident, investigations will likely also focus on whether there may have been other critical safety failures or violations. This may involve looking into why the ambulance did not have its sirens on at the time of the crash despite traveling at a high rate of speed, whether there may have been violations involving the vehicle and it’s inability to keep occupants inside as it crashed, and whether any safety violations were committed by the driver, medic, or the private ambulance company.
- Private ambulance company – The ambulance involved in this crash was a private Medical Center EMS ambulance affiliated with West Tennessee Healthcare, a private health care management services company. Because employers can be held liable for damages arising from employees who cause accidents during the course of their employment, as well as any of their own failures which may have led to the accident, West Tennessee Healthcare may potentially be subject to wrongful death lawsuits filed by victims’ families.
- Other factors – Thorough investigations may also look into other potential factors that caused or contributed to the crash, such as defective products or vehicle parts (i.e. faulty tires), the negligence of other motorists on the road, poorly maintained vehicles, and more.
As trial lawyers with extensive experience in cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, and motor vehicle accidents involving commercial vehicles, our team at Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge knows meticulous investigations are critical to determining fault and liability. That’s because their findings can help families support their claims as they seek justice and financial compensation for their losses.
Our firm understands the profound losses that accompany wrongful death, and are available to help families throughout Tennessee as they fight to protect their rights and navigate the legal system. Learn more about wrongful death lawsuits and our services by calling (615) 933-2893.