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Ambulance crash injures three local emergency workers

LOUISVILLE, Ga. - Three people on board a McDuffie County ambulance along with the driver of a pickup truck were all taken to area hospitals following a collision between the two vehicles on the Stapleton Highway near Louisville last Saturday afternoon. The crash resulted in the ambulance overturning after striking a culvert.

Traffic was snarled for more than two hours along the stretch of the highway where the mishap occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m., according to Georgia State Patrol Senior Trooper Archie Johnson of the Swainsboro GSP post.

One of the more seriously injured of the three persons in the ambulance was identified as 28-year-old Jimmy Williams, of Thomson, Trooper Johnson said. Mr. Williams was flown by medical helicopter to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta.

McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services Director Tim Edwards said Mr. Williams received assorted injuries. Mr. Williams was released from MCG hospital on Sunday. Mr. Williams, who works as a firefighter with the City of Thomson Fire Department, also is a student at the Thomson campus of Augusta Tech, where he is studying medical procedures. He was riding in the rear of the ambulance at the time of the crash, Mr. Edwards said.

The ambulance director, who oversees operations in both McDuffie County and Glascock counties, identified the other two occupants of the ambulance wreck as Charles "Chuck" McDowell, 44, of Thomson, and Bobbie Thomas, 32, of Harlem. The two ambulance personnel are EMTs. Both were treated and released at MCG, he said.

Mr. McDowell, the driver of the ambulance, had just left Jefferson Hospital in Louisville where a patient was carried. After leaving, the crew received another emergency call to Glascock County and were responding to that call when the wreck happened, Mr. Edwards said.

Trooper Johnson said the ambulance had its lights and siren on at the time.

The driver of the 1984 Chevrolet C/10 pickup truck, Shandrell Antonio Morgan, of Wadley, received various injuries. He was taken to Jefferson Hospital where he was treated and later released, Trooper Johnson said.

As the ambulance was approaching the pickup truck, Mr. Morgan reportedly veered into the left hand lane to avoid striking another car that was in front of him and in the process of pulling onto the shoulder of the roadway to yield for the emergency vehicle. The front of the ambulance struck the rear bumper of the truck, causing it to spin and be struck again in the front left side, Trooper Johnson said.

The pickup ended up in a ditch on the right hand side of the roadway, while the ambulance crossed over one ditch and continued until it struck a culvert and overturned.

Trooper Johnson said Mr. Morgan was charged with making an improper lane change.

Web posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007

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