Family distraught after ambulance crashes into their Simpson Co. home

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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SIMPSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - A family is shaken and emotional after having an ambulance crash into the side of their house over the weekend.

Early Saturday morning, John Ates and his family was awakened by an ambulance. But it wasn’t just because of lights and sirens.

Instead, they woke up to an ASAP Ambulance inside of their living room and their house foundation completely shifted.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to think. It scared me so bad, you know?” home owner John Ates said.

Ates and his family were deep asleep in their home when, all of a sudden, they heard the crash.

“We was laying in the bed asleep. At about 2:30, an ambulance come through the house. All the furniture by the window all fell and got broke pieces everywhere. The ambulance caught on fire and everybody was dazed,” Ates said.

Ates said that three EMTs were inside of the ambulance at the time and were headed to a call in town.

When a shift manager from ASAP Ambulance, the company that supplies ambulances for Simpson County, arrived at the scene, Ates was told the driver must had fallen asleep or blacked out.

This incident comes at a time when Emergency Management Service employee’s retention rate is at 30%. Although ASAP did not confirm a staffing shortage or that this driver had been working a long shift, the president of the Mississippi Ambulance Alliance, Julia Clarke, says it’s common for EMTs in rural areas to work long shifts.

“Our people are over-worked. They’re tired. Shifts are based on the volume of transports that you think will come in within a time period. So you may see, you go into the rural areas, it could be 24-48,” Clarke said.

Ates said although he understands that EMT numbers are low, companies need to shorten shifts to help keep accidents like this from happening.

“They need to quit working them, making them work 48-to-72 hour shifts. Hey, I’m a truck driver. I have to shutdown after 11 hours. What gives them the right to run them more than 11 hours,” Ates said.

Ates explained that ASAP Ambulance had put them up in a hotel for 3 days, however they had not heard anything from the company since the incident.

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