GASTONIA, N.C. — Two Gaston County paramedics were hurt after crashing into a car while responding to an emergency.

The incident happened just before 8 p.m. on April 30 at the intersection of East Long Avenue and North Broad Street in Gastonia.

According to a Gastonia Police crash report, a Gaston County EMS ambulance was heading east on East Long Avenue with lights and sirens activated. Police said a car traveling in the same direction failed to yield.

As the two vehicles approached a red light on North Broad Street, investigators said the ambulance used a westbound lane to go around the car. The report said the ambulance entered the intersection from the westbound lane.

Officers said as the driver of the ambulance began to make a sharp right turn, the traffic light turned green, and the driver in the other vehicle began moving.

The ambulance crashed into the side of the car.

While police faulted the driver of the passenger car for failing to yield to the ambulance, police also faulted the ambulance driver for failing to sufficiently clear the intersection before proceeding.

Gaston County Deputy Chief Jamie McConnell wouldn't comment specifically on the crash, but, he said, in general, drivers don't know what to do when they see an ambulance with emergency lights activated.

"They have what we call squirrel moments," Dep. Chief McConnell said. "They pull left, pull right; they continue; they try to speed up; they go through intersections."

He and other paramedics said drivers should always move to the right side of the road when it's safe.

He said if a driver is stuck at a red light and an ambulance is coming from behind, drivers shouldn't try to run the red light.


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