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Driver Charged In Fatal Ambulance Crash (Photo)

| by Michael Howard
AmbulancesAmbulances

Police in Georgia have issued an arrest warrant for the driver of an ambulance that crashed on June 16, killing a patient that was inside the vehicle.

Crystin Keys, 21, was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain a single lane. She has not yet been arrested, and police are in contact with her attorney, according to WTVC.

Keys reportedly told police that she fell asleep at the wheel, at which point the ambulance veered off the road, smashed into a tree and flipped over. The accident occurred around 4:30 a.m.

Witness Austen Trevers described the scene to WRCB.

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"There was a lot of EMS, fire vehicles, and the only other thing that I could see, I was on the other side of the road, was an overturned ambulance," he said. "I mean, it's always scary to think that just one wrong turn can kind of change the whole outcome of anyone's life."

Tony Patterson, 55, died in the crash. The paramedic who was treating him in the ambulance, 29-year-old Robert Burnham, sustained undisclosed injuries. Keys was also injured. Both survivors were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and are reported to be in stable condition.

According to Sgt. Danny Story of the Rome Police Department, Keys said she had been working since 7 p.m. and was fatigued.

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"She stated she was tired. That they started work at 7 p.m. last date," Story told WRCB. "She was feeling tired and she doesn't remember going off the road until the ambulance started jerking.

He added that the accident scene was consistent with Keys' description of events.

"There's no skid marks other than the travel path of the ambulance and, of course, you have destruction once it strikes the tree and it flips the ambulance."

Story emphasized that the driver did not intend to harm anyone.

"Nothing was done on purpose," he said. "That's why we call it an accident. Just keep the families in mind and hope that they can get through it."

Puckett EMS, Keys' employer, released the following statement:

Puckett EMS is deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this accident and their families during this difficult time.

A Puckett EMS ambulance was involved in an accident while traveling with a patient to Floyd Medical Center on Martha Berry Highway early Friday morning, June 16.

The patient was a fatality on the scene. Puckett EMS employees sustained injuries and were transported from the scene by Redmond EMS. The EMT and paramedic are in stable condition.

We would like to express our gratitude to all first responders who responded to this accident.

The safety of our service -- our employees, our passengers and those with whom we come in contact daily -- is of the utmost concern.

Puckett EMS is conducting a review of the accident and is cooperating fully with local authorities.

We request that any questions about the accident be directed to the Rome Police Department.

Sources: WTVC, WRCB / Photo credit: Pixabay, WRGA via WRCB

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