Matt Deicher, a 42-year-old former EMT, cannot recall the events of July 31, 2003, but he does know that he left his home that afternoon on an emergency call that changed his life forever. Deicher, along with two other EMTs and 52-year-old patient, David Nicewander, were headed north on a rainy stretch of highway in Wisconsin without sirens or lights. Suddenly Nicewander lost consciousness and the driver of the ambulance, Jason Toboyek, activated the sirens and picked up speed. As the highway pavement shifted from concrete to blacktop, Toboyek felt the back of the ambulance tilting towards the passenger side. Toboyek lost control of the ambulance and it slid into the grassy median on Interstate 39 near Rothschild, Wisconsin. The ambulance proceeded to flip over and land back on all four wheels.
Toboyek immediately reached for the radio to report an accident. He then rushed to the back of the ambulance to check on Nicewander, Deicher, and Mary Beth Lingl, the third crewmember. Deicher was found buried under a pile of medical equipment gasping for breath. Toboyek reached to check Nicewander’s pulse, but was unable to find one. Nicewander was pronounced dead at the scene after having suffered massive head injuries. Deicher spent the next six months in two different hospitals recovering, only to find out that he was paralyzed from the neck down.
Deicher was informed, after a two-month investigation, that a number of factors contributed to the crash. These factors included worn tires, the rain storm, the newly paved highway, and the ambulance’s speed. The most interesting of the factors, the worn tires, now has Deicher speaking out for steps to be made to prevent crashes like the one that took away his ability to walk. Two days before the crash a state inspector had ordered the ambulance’s failing tires be replaced. Deicher is arguing for greater enforcement of violations like the failing tires. He believes accidents like his could be prevented if inspectors strictly enforced these violations. Deicher also discussed the importance of maintaining ambulances and how his former employer, the Mosinee Fire Department, had a no-tolerance policy for vehicles that fell short of maintenance standards. While individual crews are responsible for daily maintenance of the ambulances, one individual is responsible for biennial inspections statewide. The survivors of the crash still wonder about why they did not notice that the tires needed to be changed? And why the state inspector did not immediately order the ambulance of the road until the tires were changed?
After crash, former EMT hopes for safer ambulances, www.palmbeachpost.com February 21, 2013
Properly inspecting and maintaining emergency vehicles is vital to protect the lives of EMTs and other crewmembers as well as the patients who are transported in these motor vehicles. Sometimes vehicles are not operating at a level that is safe for the roadways and it is important that someone discovers this before tragic accidents occur like the one here. The Coral Gables product liability lawyers at the Friedland Law Group are experienced in handling automobile accident cases caused by defective products. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an unsafe vehicle or any other type of motor vehicle accident, call the Miami personal injury lawyers at (305) 661-2008 today for a free consultation!
The Miami consumer advocate lawyers at the Friedland Law Group handle all types of motor vehicle accidents throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland Law Group handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls and construction site injuries.