Around 5 a.m. on June 6, a trucking accident occurred on Highway 32 in Ocilla, Georgia involving a semi and an ambulance. The patient and two medics in the ambulance were killed. The ambulance was eastbound, moving with its siren and lights on to alert drivers to clear the way for the vehicle. A westbound semi jack-knifed and crossed the center line, blocking the path of the ambulance, which struck the left side of the truck.
According to the Georgia State Patrol, Teresa Ann Davis, 44, and Randall Whiddon, 56, were the two medics killed in the accident. Charles Arvin Smith, 65, was the patient killed in the accident. The condition of the semi-truck driver, Rockwell Lott, is unknown.
Whiddon’s son stated that Randall Whiddon had served as the Turner County fire chief and EMS director until he retired in April 2012. Since then, the 35-year veteran had been working part time in Irwin and Coffee counties as an EMT. Theresa Ann Davis had worked at Coffee Regional Medical Center as an EMT for over a decade, according to George Heck, the hospital’s CEO.
According to police, the truck jack-knifed when another car traveling westbound ahead of the truck began to pull to the side of the road to make way for the ambulance. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the accident is being investigated by the Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Crash Reconstruction Team. Witness statements and other evidence have been collected in order to determine if any citations will be issued or charges will be filed for the crash.
It is critical for highway safety that drivers yield to emergency vehicles when their lights and sirens are activated. There were 250 accidents involving ambulances in 2010, the majority of which were intersection accidents resulting from vehicles that failed to stop. Drivers should always be alert and aware of their surroundings so that they can identify an emergency vehicle’s lights and sirens within enough time to safely stop.