What part of "siren and flashing light" didn't this guy understand?

When I was taking driver’s ed, one thing that was seared — seared into my brain was that a police car, ambulance, fire engine, or any kind of emergency vehicle that has its lights and sirens going ALWAYS has the right of way. Period. Get in its way, and YOU are at fault, regardless of other circumstances. I believed it so devoutly that I once drove over a slight curb to get out of an ambulance’s way — much to my father’s wrath, until he actually went to the spot and saw that the “curb” was, indeed, only about an inch and a half high and rounded.

When I was in college, I once came upon an accident scene minutes after it happened. A woman I knew (but didn’t really care for) had stopped at a stop sign, then proceeded through. She was T-boned by a racing ambulance, which ran a red light, rolled her car over and left it leaning against a telephone pole. She was given a ticket — as the law requires.

This morning, I read about another person who had a run-in with an ambulance. Normally, this wouldn’t be blog-worthy, but a few odd facts jump out at me.

1) A police officer who witnessed the crash says the ambulance came to a complete stopbefore entering the intersection and broadsiding a Honda Civic.
2) Both vehicles ended up on a traffic island.
3) The officer said the ambulance had its lights and siren going.

Now, here are my questions:

A) Ambulances are HEAVY. How could the ambulance build up enough momentum from a complete stop to hit the speeding Civic (a pretty light car) with enough force to put the ambulance on an island?

B) The ambulance had no patient on board, and officials won’t say if it was on an emergency call. Did it really have its lights and siren going? If so, why?

Normally, my instincts tell me to side with the ambulance drivers and hope the dumbass in the Civic gets punished, but there’s so many odd things about this story that just don’t add up yet…

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18 Comments

  1. J.R. May 2, 2005
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