Several Serious Injuries
UPDATE, 7:30 pm: The fatality has been confirmed and is the EMT. Scroll down for details.
Update #2, 9:30 pm: EMT was not belted in, ejected during crash. Scroll down.
A PRIVATE AMBULANCE IN NEWARK, New Jersey, was an unwitting participant in a multi-vehicle accident Monday afternoon that left it on its side. Early reports say that there were several serious injuries as a result and possible a fatality. Unconfirmed reports from the street say that the EMT is one of those most seriously hurt.
Witnesses are saying that a car was traveling at a high speed and obviously trying to elude a chasing police officer. During the chase the car collided with a box truck and the ambulance, causing heavy damage to all three vehicles. The crash occurred around 1 pm Eastern.
The police have not released any information about the wreck yet, not even confirming that it was a pursuit. Firegeezer will update this posting as soon as we learn more about the condition of the ambulance personnel and whether they had a patient or not.
WABC-TV has filed this early report from the scene:
Update, 7:30 pm:
The police have now confirmed that there was a fatality in the collision and the victim is the EMT who was in the back of the ambulance with a patient. WABC-TV is now reporting:
A state police cruiser chasing another car ended up in a chain-reaction crash with three vehicles: an ambulance, a bus, and a delivery truck.
The Essex County Prosecutor has just released the name of the victim: 30-year-old Keith Chipepo from Montclair. The driver of the ambulance and a patient inside were also taken to the hospital.
Update #2, 9:30 pm:
The ambulance was on a non-emergency transfer with a patient and another passenger. WCBS-TV is adding:
Keith Chipepo, 30, of Montclair, N.J., was killed in the accident when a Chrysler Pacifica that was apparently being chased by police slammed into the private ambulance in which he was riding. The chain-reaction also included a food distribution truck and an Essex County transportation bus.
Witnesses say the blue vehicle was being chased and that it was behind the ambulance, which did not have its lights on. The ambulance driver apparently drove into the intersection trying to get out of the way of the police chase coming up fast from behind.
"He didn’t know how to get out the way, so being as though his way of getting out of the way was coming out into South Orange Avenue a little bit," said witness Cathy Jones. "That’s when the Essex County transportation vehicle hit him and he flipped over."
When the vehicles came to rest, someone was trapped under the ambulance. "He had on a beige shirt and he was screaming help," said witness Kcysha Zahir. "He had blood coming from his head."
Chipepo was pronounced dead at University Hospital in Newark, where three other injured people were also taken. They included the 26-year-old ambulance driver from West Orange, a 57-year-old woman, and a 34-year-old Bloomfield man who was driving the food truck, police said.
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