The ambulance was on its way to an urgent notification in Ostrów Wielkopolski. At the intersection, the ambulance driver wanted to go straight and was overtaking the car that was trying to turn left. There was a collision in which a 71-year-old man was killed. The driver of the ambulance has just been sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years. The judgment is not final.
The accident happened on Sunday December 2, 2018 in Ostrów Wielkopolski. A passenger car and an ambulance collided at the intersection of Staropodziodzka and Dekarska Streets. An ambulance going to the patient along Staropodziodzka Street – on a double continuous line and at an intersection – began to overtake the Opel. The passenger car driver wanted to turn left into Dekarska Street. Then both vehicles collided.
The tree broke like a matchstick
The accident was recorded by a surveillance camera. The video showed the ambulance hitting the left side of the car, then crashing into the lane and hitting the trees ahead. The force of the blow was so great that the first one broke. The ambulance stops only at the second. The car she had hit stopped several dozen meters after the intersection.
The passenger car driver was stuck in the vehicle. 71-year-old man could not be saved, he died in hospital.
The prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation into the accident. According to investigators, the ambulance driver was to blame for causing the accident, as he was driving too fast and turned on the alarm too late. The man was charged with causing a fatal accident, punishable by three months to eight years’ imprisonment.
On Tuesday (September 28), the court announced its verdict in this case. As the judge emphasized, the ambulance driver “grossly violated traffic regulations” and sentenced the 45-year-old to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years.
The judge emphasized that in this particular case the parties were faced with a “cruel paradox”. – The driver of the ambulance, while going to save another life, inadvertently caused the death of another person – said Marek Urbaniak, judge of the District Court in Ostrów Wielkopolski.
Accused driver: I’m not an ambulance killer
The sentence imposed is lower than the one requested in court by the prosecutor’s office. Investigators wanted a year in prison for a 45-year-old ambulance driver, a driving ban for two years, and a two-year ban from practicing. In addition, according to the prosecutor’s office, the accused should pay PLN 10,000 to auxiliary prosecutors. – The defendant’s guilt is beyond doubt. This was shown by the judicial wire. The accused failed both as a driver and as a paramedic, said prosecutor Alina Poczta.
The family of the deceased requested an even higher penalty. She demanded two years in prison for the driver, a five-year ban on working in the ambulance service, the removal of his driving license for six years and financial compensation in the amount of PLN 60,000.
The defense attorney of the ambulance driver, in turn, asked for the accused to be acquitted, stressing that that day he was on an emergency call, and there had never been any objections to his work. According to the defense, it was an unfortunate accident. The accused Jacek A. did not plead guilty. The family of the deceased apologized for what had happened. – Not a day goes by without me thinking about what happened. But it was a very unfortunate accident due to many circumstances. This accident also changed my life, both private and professional. I regret what happened and I am sorry for the loss suffered by Mr. Roman’s family. But I’m not the ambulance killer. And this is what some people call me – said the accused.
In addition to the suspended sentence, the accused is to pay five thousand zlotys each for the daughters of the deceased. The judge, however, did not accede to the motions of the prosecutor’s office and auxiliary prosecutors, prohibiting the practice of a paramedic or driving motor vehicles.
Judgment: This is an emotional issue on both sides
The court found that the ambulance driver had deliberately violated the road safety rules, but unintentionally caused an accident with a fatal outcome.
As Urbaniak explained, the court’s task was primarily to determine whether the ambulance driver turned on the sound signal at the right moment, giving him a privilege on the road. – If it were so, the driver may violate road traffic regulations while exercising extreme caution – said judge Urbaniak. The court did not believe the accused’s testimony that the signal had been turned on earlier. However, according to the testimonies of witnesses, it had been turned on at the last minute. Thus, the ambulance was not an emergency vehicle and had no right to violate the road traffic law. The findings show that just before the braking, the driver was moving at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour, sometimes even 150 kilometers per hour in a place where there was only a limit of 50. The judge emphasized that the prosecuting party during the trial looked at the ambulance driver as a killer, who “intentionally killed the victim”. – But it was not so. The accused is an unpunished person who performs his professional duties. It should be remembered that the accused was traveling, violating the safety rules, because he was going to a patient who required immediate help, for whom there was a suspicion that he had a heart attack. This is a significant mitigating circumstance. If he had turned on the beep, he would have been sitting in the dock today, too, but we would have looked at it differently, said the judge. As Urbaniak noted, “this is an issue that arouses emotions on both sides.” – The aggrieved party has lost a loved one. The emotions associated with the accident will also accompany the accused throughout his life. On the other hand, the court must decide the case based on legal aspects, a sense of justice and without emotions – the judge noted. The judge informed that the victim also contributed to the accident. – There are judgments that say that turning left is not required to look back and check in the mirror what is going on behind him. But there is also a second line of jurisprudence according to which it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that there are no obstacles that would prevent the maneuver before making a left turn, said the judge. According to Urbaniak, the aggrieved party should have made sure that he could turn left. The judgment is not final.
Main photo source: monitoring