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EMS employee cited in car wreck

Jul. 04, 2013 @ 11:54 PM

HUNTINGTON — An employee with Cabell County Emergency Medical Services has been placed on paid administrative leave and cited for failure to maintain control as a result of a rollover crash on Interstate 77 in eastern Ohio.

The wreck happened at 3:44 a.m. Wednesday at the 53-mile marker, just north of Cambridge, Ohio, and approximately two hours south of Cleveland.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Neff said the driver, Selena Gail Curry, told investigators she fell asleep behind the wheel. The 28-year-old from Huntington woke up with the ambulance in the grass and going toward the hillside. Neff said she tried to correct and hit a guardrail, which caused the vehicle to flip onto its side.

Three people, all of whom were ambulance personnel, were on board at the time. Minor injuries were reported, according to Neff and Cabell County Manager Chris Tatum.

The ambulance and its crew were making a return trip from Cleveland after transporting a patient, according to Tatum. He spoke Thursday on behalf of Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry and Assistant Director Steve Murray, both of whom were unavailable for comment.

Tatum said such trips are routine as Cabell County EMS has agreements with both local hospitals to provide transports when needed.

The county manager, based upon information from Murray, said distances as far away as Cleveland require a fatigue assessment. The procedure is performed before the crew departs Huntington and is repeated before it heads home.

Tatum cited information from Murray saying all such policies were followed with this week's trip. He added the agency sent a third driver as a precaution due to the distance.

Curry was placed on paid administrative leave as a matter of protocol pending results of an internal review, Tatum said. That will include a routine drug test, review by the agency's safety committee and receipt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's final crash report.

Neff confirmed his agency issued the citation. Tatum said any further disciplinary actions will be decided based upon the internal review.

Neff said ambulance crashes are rare on his portion of Interstate 77. He said such an accident should serve as a reminder to plan ahead and get the necessary sleep. He suggested an hour or two nap any time a driver feels drowsy.

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