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Alleged drunk driver crosses centerline and hits ambulance

Five people were injured when an allegedly drunk driver crossed the centerline on a North Carolina roadway and crashed head-on with an ambulance. Gaston County EMS, which operates the ambulance, released a 12-second video that shows both the outside and the inside of the ambulance in the moments up to and during the June 2 accident.

The video is split-screen, with inward- and outward-facing dashcam feeds displayed on the left and right sides of the playback. The ambulance was traveling with its lights and siren activated to the scene of an emergency to assist a medic who was already there. The ambulance took a slight left-hand curve on Stanley-Spencer Mountain Road in Gastonia when an oncoming sedan suddenly veered in front of the ambulance.

Authorities believe that the sedan's driver made an error and then crossed the centerline as the result of an over-correction. He is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated, but prosecutors may bring more criminal charges, such as reckless driving, before trial.

The accused driver was traveling with his wife in the passenger seat, and the couple's niece was wearing her seat belt in the back seat. Neither the driver nor his wife was wearing a seat belt. The driver's wife was still in intensive care with head and brain injuries the day after the crash; the couple's niece is expected to make a full recovery. The two people in the ambulance, both emergency medical technicians, had both been released from the hospital by the next day.

In addition to the criminal charges, it is possible that the alleged drunk driver will face civil lawsuits from the parties injured in the crash. The EMTs here, for example, will likely have their medical expenses and most of their lost wages covered by workers' compensation. They might still file a lawsuit for their pain and suffering and any remaining lost wages.

Source: WSOCTV, "Driver charged with DWI after wreck involving ambulance injures 5", Paige Hansen, June 03, 2014

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