You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

Ambulance crashes while transporting unstable patient

By John Counts

An ambulance that was transporting an unstable patient to the University of Michigan Hospital got into a traffic accident in downtown Ann Arbor Thursday morning, officials said.

Joyce Williams, spokeswoman for Huron Valley Ambulances, said one of their vehicles got into a crash at the intersection of East Huron and State streets just before 9 a.m.

HVA had initially responded to a call of a pedestrian being struck at Wagner and Miller roads at 8:53 a.m., Williams said.

“We were transporting that person emergent because they were unstable,” she added.

The ambulance then got into the accident as it was making its way through Ann Arbor toward U-M Hospital with the patient. The ambulance was unable to proceed to the hospital with the patient.

“We called another ambulance to continue the transport,” Williams said.

The second ambulance arrived at 8:58 a.m. and took the pedestrian who was struck to the hospital. There was no additional information about what happened with the patient.

Neither the HVA paramedics nor the driver of the car involved in the crash were injured. Williams did not have any other details about the accident.

Snowy weather conditions and icy roads played a part in both incidents, Williams said.

View Larger Map

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

What kind of "traffic accident?" That indicates the accident took place in traffic, presumably "ground traffic of motor vehicles" as opposed to air traffic or drug traffic. Could the "traffic accident" have involved... a collision? And how does an ambulance "get into a crash?" - Are all crashes hollow with entrance portals? If an ambulance "gets into a crash" - once inside a crash, how do they get out of it? What does the ambulance drivers' manual say about getting into and out of crashes, does it take special training? Could it be the ambulance was involved in... a collision? "We were transporting that person emergent because they were unstable," she added. I couldn't find this use of "emergent" in the dictionary but did find it in the thesaurus: adj. occurring unexpectedly and requiring urgent action. example: "emergent repair of an aorta" Rare usage for sure, and it does us good to have to look up words rarely used in such a way, right? adventuresinfiguringoutwhatwemean-dot-com is keeping its readers busy. :-)


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 4:40 a.m.

One thing to remember is the laws for driving around emergency vehicles are not the same in all states. Michigan's laws require people to pull over to the right shoulder when possible. In some states the law only requires drivers to pull over to the side of the road and give the emergency vehicle the right of way. This could be way people are seen pulling to the left. Other states only require you to stop and allow the emergency vehicle to pass unobstructed. If there was a national standard on how to drive when emergency vehicles are present maybe this would not be an issue. With different states having different laws, and Ann Arbor being a college town of students from many states and countries it is easy to see why people don't properly get over for emergency vehicles. Here is a question on proper pulling over. A couple years ago while driving north on M-52 from Manchester I witnessed a Manchester fire truck in the distance behind me. It was at least 1/2 mile behind me, so I kept driving at speed. How close should the emergency vehicle be before you pull over? I first witnessed this vehicle behind me south of Pleasant Lake rd, but did not pull over until almost to the M-52 I-96 interchange because that was where the fire truck caught up to me. I never impeded it's progress, I just kept going at or within 5 miles above the posted speed limit. It just too that long for it to catch me.

Lets Get Real

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

Doesn't sound like Williams had much information for a "spokesperson." Perhaps a more definitive statement would have been forthcoming had Williams taken the time to get thorough information before responding to questions from the press and a more intelligent response would have been evident if a statement had been constructed prior to the response. Pretty pathetic. HVA does such good work and saves so many lives. Too bad they don't have a more professional spokesperson.

Frustrated in A2

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

I hope this was not a case of someone failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. Something that happens all to often.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

Maybe emergency vehicles should get the google accident avoidance system installed.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

John, I'm glad to hear that no one else was injured, but is there any word on if the patient being transported is ok?

Katie Anne

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Almost every time I hear an emergency vehicle coming, I see idiotic drivers rushing to beat them across intersections. It's. miracle that there aren't ambulance accidents every week.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

Unfortunately with the conditions this morning, it was probably unavoidable. There were some good samaritans helping motorists get "unstuck" at that corner around that time. I hope the person is ok.

Ann English

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

I had no idea that an accident could and did take place at State and Huron. Why not on Main and Huron, or on First Street and Liberty? I've been taking Main through town instead of using I-94, thinking it's safer. Felch Street was snow-covered this morning, but W. Kingsley was not, and neither was First Street. So far this winter, I haven't seen any motorists struggling to right their cars in the northbound lanes of Main south of Hill Street, or any drivers struggling to climb the Main Street Hill to the stadium. Keep up with the sufficient salting of Main and First Streets. And Mosley hasn't been slippery, either.

John Counts

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

Here's a story I wrote back in August about how first responders believe most motorists fail to follow the rules of the road when encountering ambulances and police and fire vehicles:


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

I've notice lately that people don't pull over to the curb for emergency vehicles.I've witness in many cases people just stopping in the lane they are in and responders having to maneuver around them.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

My personal favorite is up on Eisenhower past State that has a median. There is a firehouse up there and when a truck pulls out with their lights on and siren running, Ihave actually seen people pull over on the "other side" of the median. It would be funny if it was not so scary. Someone could easily plow into them thru NO fault of their own.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

I've seen that, too. Frequently.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Well, since the city doesn't salt until many hours after storms start, I'm not surprised to hear that ambulances are crashing on icy roads. Cars are crashing all the time due to the lack of proper salting, so of course, ambulances are going to crash too on untreated roads. There is NO excuse for the lack of salting in the city of A2.

John Counts

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

The day has been corrected.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

"Snowy weather conditions and icy roads played a part in both incidents, Williams said." The story states these accidents took place Wednesday morning. I rode my bike to work Wednesday morning. Things were wet, decidedly not snowy or icy and temperatures were in the 50s.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Guess a bunch of stuff was unstable.