Investigation Launched After Closest Ambulance Fails To Respond To Crash Scene

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UPDATED: Thursday July 10, 2014 7:34 PM

An investigation is underway into the emergency response to a crash that killed a Morrow County husband and wife on June 30.

Kenneth and Elizabeth Bush died after the ATV they were in was struck by an SUV in front of their home.

911 calls and crash scene photos from the Ohio State Highway Patrol recreate the awful scene along State Route 95.

“Yeah we've got two (victims). One in the ditch here, he's breathing but it's labored, and we've got one gentleman who's just come out of the vehicle. So yeah, it's pretty bad,” said the 911 caller.

The operator wastes no time in dispatching medics to the scene. Then, the caller discovered a third victim.

“Oh my God. Yeah, it’s really bad.”

The dispatcher responds, “I’m going to let you go so I can get my units on their way, ok?”

The urgency was clear.   

Run sheets obtained by 10 Investigates show the call came in at 8:13. EMS 9, Squad 1, and Squad 2 were en route from EMS Headquarters four minutes later. An additional crew, Squad 4, was requested and was en route from Cardington at 8:21.

Sources tell 10TV there was another ambulance, Squad 3, that was closer to the scene than any other – but it did not respond. Squad 3 was at a Kroger, having just re-fueled, when the call came out.

According to Google maps, they were 2.3 miles from the scene, or a three minute drive.

Morrow County EMS says Squad 3 was not dispatched to the call, but that's because dispatchers weren't aware of its location.

The question is, in a literal life and death situation when every second counts, do the closest medics have a duty to respond?

Morrow County EMS Captain Kent Miller tells 10TV that "crews are only required to respond if dispatched," but says if a crew is aware they are closer to an emergency scene, "I would expect them to notify dispatch and respond."

As one staffer told 10TV, even if the rules don't require them to respond, there is "a moral obligation."

The first medic on scene was EMS 9 at 8:23, followed by Squad 1, and then Squad 2 at 8:25.     

Kenneth and Elizabeth Bush were both airlifted to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and later died.

Could Squad 3 have gotten there faster than the others? Would it have made a difference?

If anyone knows those answers, they aren't saying.

Morrow County EMS officials will only tell 10TV they are conducting an investigation into the crash response.

EMS in Morrow County is run by the Morrow County Firefighter and Squadsmen Association, a private sub-contractor with Morrow County.

Because of that private status, the Association is refusing to release any records related to the investigation, or any discipline that may have resulted.

Morrow County Commissioners have selected Med-Flight to take over EMS operations for the county at the end of this year.

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