One person is dead and nine more were injured, including three children, after a crash involving an ambulance in Hawkins County, Tennessee.
Not far from a Fourth of July celebration, traffic came to a stand-still Saturday night on Highway 11W in Hawkins County after a multi-car accident that involved an emergency vehicle. "There was an SUV in a ditch. The ambulance was obviously on top of the green car, and there was a little white car still in the road that had been hit also," said Nicole Johnson, who drove by the crash site.
The crash happened at the intersection of 11W and Silver Lake Road. The ambulance was coming down the northbound lane when it struck a car that was going down the intersecting Silver Lake Road.
According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, the driver of one of the cars, 18-year-old Samantha Hathaway of Church Hill, Tennessee, died in the crash. Police say she was wearing her seatbelt.
Police tell us the ambulance then veered right, hitting two more cars, including one with three children inside: a 4-year-old, an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old. "They were just pulling people out, had them on stretchers everywhere," said Johnson.
"You never expect to see the ambulance in the crash itself. They're always our helpers," added Johnson.
Johnson says after seeing that accident she thinks everyone needs to be more aware on the road. "Maybe we all need to slow down and take a minute to look because it could happen to anybody at any time," says Johnson.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says the accident is still under investigation, but charges are pending.
We reached out Tennessee State Representative Tony Shipley to ask what the law is in Tennessee regarding emergency vehicles. He told us when an emergency vehicle has its lights and sirens on, they are essentially asking permission to go through an intersection. We learned that means the emergency vehicle must still yield until the intersection is clear, and they must yield until all four ways are stopped.
We also spoke to the Hawkins County EMS; workers there tell us because the accident is still under investigation, their attorney advised them not to comment.