Bellwood Ambulance Crash Ends in Triple Fatality
Chicago news outlets are reporting that an ambulance traveling near 28th Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Bellwood, crashed into a building, killing three people including a dialysis patient. The tragedy occurred on Saturday, March 31st and took the lives of Excel Ambulance Service driver, James Wesley, 51, a co-worker, Prentis Williams, 51, and the patient, Larry Marshal Jr., 48, who relied on the private company to get to and from dialysis treatment after he recently underwent a surgery. The driver of the ambulance had been Excel’s EMS coordinator for the last decade.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Wesley which showed no acute medical conditions caused or contributed to his death. Authorities say toxicology test results will not be available for several weeks. While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, police officials have told ABC7 that, “there were no skid marks prior to the ambulance colliding with the building.” Several other findings have been presented by the news channel, including:
- “Wesley was involved in a civil suit stating that he was careless and negligent and may have been speeding in a March, 2010 collision on Chicago’s South Side. Illinois Secretary of State records show that Wesley lost his license after that accident.
- Wesley also served time in both Illinois state prison and the Cook County jail for numerous felonies between 1992 and 2007 including drug possession, theft and criminal damage to property.”
While the accident victims’ families and friends are left to grieve these losses, with many questions left unanswered, officials at the Department of Public Health say they are checking the driver’s records to see if anything should have prevented him from having an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the nation averages 33 fatalities involving ambulance crashes annually.
Protocols Should Be in Place to Determine Eligibility for Emergency Medical Technician Certification
It takes time to understand the causes and effects of crashes like this but that doesn’t change the fact that patient safety remains the responsibility of ambulance drivers and EMTs while under their care. If an accident happens and injuries or wrongful death have occurred, there could be a case for negligence. Until more facts are known, it’s unfair to presume any one person or company is to blame for this tragic wreck, but if Excel didn’t follow regulatory compliance requirements for hiring and managing employees and then posed a risk to others, there could trouble ahead.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident due to an ambulance driver or EMT negligence, simply call us at 877-374-1417 or connect with us via our free online personal injury case evaluation form and a Levin & Perconti attorney will call you back promptly to discuss your legal options. You will never pay a fee unless we successfully resolve your case.