First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network,Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

Fatal Ambulance Crash in Rochester

Rural/Metro Ambulance Was on Non-Emergency Transport

Update, Tuesday am:  Amb. driver ticketed.  Scroll down.

AN AMBULANCE TRANSPORTING a Rochester, New York, nursing home resident to a hospital was struck broadside Sunday afternoon resulting in fatal injuries to the 82-yr.-old patient.

Democrat & Chronicle photo

The Rural/Metro ambulance was on a non-emergency transfer and was making a left-turn when a car coming the opposite direction slammed into the side of the ambulance.  Both of the medics were transported and the two people in the car, ages 84 and 92, were seriously injured. 

WHAM-TV Ch. 13 provided this video report from the scene:


Police have not yet determined which vehicle had the right-of-way.

The Democrat & Chronicle has MORE.

Update, Tuesday am:
The driver of the ambulance has been ticketed for failure to yield the right-of-way leading to the fatal crash on Sunday.
WHAM-TV Ch. 13 reports:

Brighton Police have charged a Rural Metro ambulance driver after a fatal crash Sunday. Police say Melissa Onderdonk, 43, turned in front of a car, causing the crash. She has been ticketed for failure to yield the right of way.

The accident killed Erwin Leonard, 82, who was a patient in the ambulance.

Monday evening Rural Metro released the following statement:

“Rural/Metro Medical Services deeply regrets the loss of life from yesterday’s accident. We are cooperating fully with the investigation by the Brighton Police Department and New York State Police. Rural/Metro Medical Services is conducting an internal inquiry as well, which will include a full review of applicable company policies and the procedures used in this case.

While the investigation continues, our ambulance crew members involved continue to recover from their injuries. Both crew members are dedicated professional first responders with many years of combined experience serving the public. Melissa and Dennis obviously have been personally affected by this tragedy along with our entire EMS staff.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Comments - Add Yours

  • MerlinMedic

    Too bad for the patient & crew. I hope she was properly restrained on the cot, ’cause that crew is going to have every piece of that call put under a microscope. Did they have a turn arrow? Did they signal? Did the car that hit them have the right of way? Was the RM driver on the cell phone or texting? Sadly, this is NY and those kids are in for rough time of it.

    • MetroMedic76

      This isn’t the type of shit that anyone really wants to read right now. We all know that this call and the accident are going to be put under the microscope…have a little fucken compassion!!! They are human lives and this job is their pride and joy…both of them! Stop running your damn mouth…and by the way, they weren’t kids that were on that call!!!! Thank god my co-workers are ok and my prayers and condolences to the family of the Pt that passed.

      • MerlinMedic

        Metro, when my agency had a LoD, and later when one of our rigs was in a bad accident the last thing we had the time or energy for chat boards. This tragedy was linked thru JEMS to generate thought and discusion, and that is what I was doing. I sence that you are personally affected by this, based on the tennor of your comment. I think EAP or someone else to talk to for you will help you through this. Good luck.

  • Sean

    All R/M ambulances in the Rochester area are equipped with DriveCam cameras, so that should help with the investigation. The Monroe County Firewire ( has some excellent audio of the emergency call by the ambulance and FD response.