CHARLOTTE — Multiple people were hurt in an overnight crash into an ambulance in University City. Police said they have obtained warrants against the driver the believe caused it.
According to MEDIC, the crash happened around 12:30 a.m. Friday on North Tryon Street at Mallard Creek Church Road.
ALERT: N . Tryon is CLOSED at Mallard Creek Church after a parked medic unit was hit while treating a patient. 1 medic employee was sent to the hospital w/ life threatening injuries and an additional medic was transported with serious injuries. #clt #clttraffic #cltraffic pic.twitter.com/7NtACGDcPf— Traffic Team 9 (@TrafficTeam9) May 12, 2023
Investigators said MEDIC Unit 62 was responding to an unrelated crash and treating a patient for their injuries when their truck was hit by a 2016 black Nissan Altima driven by 19-year-old Brian Ogbonna.
Police said the ambulance had its emergency lights on and there were several police cars with theirs on as well.
Three MEDIC employees were taken to the hospital: One with life-threatening injuries, one with serious injuries, and another with no injuries. The initial patient MEDIC was treating was also taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to a news release from the agency.
MEDIC also transported a passenger from the vehicle that hit their truck; that patient had life-threatening injuries as well.
“It’s one of those calls that you just don’t want to get,” said Jon Studnek, the deputy director at Mecklenburg EMS.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Ogbonna was driving on Mallard Creek Church Road when he ran a red light and hit the ambulance.
(PHOTOS: Multiple hurt after crash involving MEDIC truck in University City)
The crash caused the back of the ambulance to separate from the frame, investigators said.
Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura saw officers had shut down the road to investigate the crash. The MEDIC truck was turned on its side with heavy damage.
Channel 9′s Gina Esposito got an exclusive look at the ambulance. It was clear where it was hit -- and a photo of it shows the inside of the box was mostly intact, thanks to safety features.
“To see the horrific damage that could occur in an instant while our providers are rendering aid to patients, just, it tears me up,” Studnek said.
Just before 8:30 a.m. Friday, a spokesperson with MEDIC told Channel 9 that the crews involved in the crash have been discharged from the hospital and are at home recovering.
Investigators said speed appeared to have contributed to the crash.
Detectives obtained warrants against Ogbonna for felony failure to move over and three counts of assault with deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
‘Tremendous amount of force’
The paramedics treating the patient from the first crash were inside the ambulance when it was hit.
“It’s a tremendous amount of force. Very, very dangerous,” Studnek said.
The paramedic who was outside the ambulance was the one who called for help.
Studnek is grateful his colleagues’ injuries weren’t worse, but said we all have a role in making sure this never happens again.
“These are tragedies that can be prevented if people slow down and pull over when they see red lights or blue lights,” he said.
There’s no word on the condition of the patient who MEDIC was originally treating or the driver of the car that hit all of them.
Police plan to charge Ogbonna when he is released from the hospital.
This is a developing story; check back at wsoctv.com for updates.
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