Chaos in the Motor City left a paramedic on leave after an ambulance crash damaged three vehicles in an alleged drunken driving incident while transporting a patient.
Shortly after 1 a.m. Friday in Hamtramck, Michigan, just outside of downtown Detroit, a Detroit Fire Department paramedic went on unpaid leave after an apparent series of bad decisions led to three parked cars have been taken away.
According to a statement from DFD, while transporting a non-emergency patient to Henry Ford Hospital, the paramedic, whose identity has not been released, was distracted while checking a map when he struck the parked vehicles in a residential block while traveling approx. 20 miles per hour.
“We don't think this is a common occurrence,” DFD Chief of Staff David Levalley told WXYZ, detailing that it wasn't apparent the driver was under the influence until he was transported to a tests according to the protocol. “This is a particular individual who made the decision to engage in conduct that was outside of our policies.”
“It was crazy,” said Maroof Ali, whose vehicle was among those hit. “I mean, I couldn't believe he was driving drunk. A guy driving an ambulance is going to hit three cars at once? It's crazy.”
Neither the patient, nor the driver, nor the two other DFD employees on board the ambulance at the time of the crash were injured as a result of the crash. In addition, Levalley added of the paramedic's six years of service without any alcohol-related incidents or accidents: “There was no indication among co-workers or supervision that there was a problem.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding on-duty alcohol use and will take appropriate action,” DFD Commissioner Chuck Simms said in a statement. “We have an excellent team of EMTs and paramedics at DFD and it is [unfortunate] that this incident diminishes the rescue work they do every day”.
WXYZ noted that there had been two alcohol-related crashes in a single week in 2021 during which the department pledged to make reforms.
“We have support programs and services for our employees who may be struggling with issues such as alcohol dependence, and we will redouble our efforts to make sure any employee who may need them knows how to access them,” Simms said. .
With an estimate of $2,000 to $2,500 in repairs for the damage to his car, Ali expressed hope that the city would pick up the costs and lamented the impact the accident had on his own earning power – is life
“This is an emergency truck. You can't be drunk driving an emergency truck, there's no way,” he told WXYZ. “Without a car, you won't be able to manage your family and pay the rent to be honest, and you won't be able to put food on your table.”
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Detroit Department of Transportation Acting Executive Director Michael Staley issued a statement regarding an accident earlier that morning in which a bus driver had also been placed on leave after the failure of 'a blood alcohol test.
“Violations of DDOT's drug and alcohol policy will be treated with the utmost urgency and seriousness, and the Department will take appropriate action based on the results of the investigation in this case,” Staley said, as there have been no wounded
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