2 FDNY EMTs injured as ambulance is hit by tow truck


By John Annese
Staten Island Advance

WEST BRIGHTON, N.Y. — A tow truck slammed into an FDNY ambulance driving the wrong way down a West Brighton street yesterday afternoon, flipping the vehicle over.

Two emergency medical technicians, one male, one female, suffered minor injuries in the crash, according to authorities. The ambulance was not carrying a patient.

Witnesses said the ambulance was going the wrong way on Delafield Avenue when it crossed the intersection of Broadway at about 5 p.m. — into the path of a tow truck driven by South Beach resident Joe Sawler, 22.

"I braked. There was nowhere I could go. It was an ambulance. It was about the size of the intersection," Sawler said. He said his arm felt sore following the crash.

"You can see the skidmarks here," said Jimmy Crupi, owner of Fix-a-Dent, whose West Brighton-based company owns the tow truck. "He tried to stop."

Accounts differ on whether the ambulance had its sirens blaring and lights flashing.

Sawler said the lights and sirens were off, but fire officials said otherwise.

"They were responding ... with lights and sirens," contended Battalion 22 Chief Joseph Harris.

One witness, West Brighton resident Rob Cruz, said the sirens caught his attention in time for him to see the crash, which occurred just down the block from where he was standing.

"He flipped. I thought it was like something in a movie," Cruz said.

At one point, Cruz said, the two EMTs were trapped in the overturned ambulance. "The girl was crying. The guy was talking on his radio."

Both were taken to Richmond University Medical Center, West Brighton.

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