November 28, 2014

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Witnesses: Ambulance ran stop sign

Fatal collision with semi kills 5

PAULDING — An ambulance driver slowed down but failed to cautiously enter a rural intersection where the emergency vehicle struck a semitrailer and caused a fiery crash that killed the driver and four others, authorities said Saturday.
The ambulance was headed to a hospital Friday night with two patients injured in an earlier car wreck when the vehicles collided on a county road about 65 miles southwest of Toledo.
The patients, along with ambulance driver Sammy Smith, 64, and two other emergency medical technicians from the village of Antwerp, were killed.
The ambulance had its emergency siren and lights turned on as it approached a stop sign, authorities said.
Witnesses told investigators that Smith slowed to about
40 mph but continued through the intersection, smashing into the semitrailer, said patrol Sgt. Ray Haas.
Ohio law allows emergency vehicles responding to calls to cautiously go past stop signs or traffic signals as long as the driver shows regard for the safety of others using the road, said patrol Sgt. Cynthia Drake.
The accident remains under investigation, but there’s no indication that the driver of the semitrailer, Gerald Chapman Jr., 54, of Bryant, Ind., did anything wrong, Haas said. No stop signs were posted for the semitrailer, which was heading east.
Chapman was treated at a hospital and released.