Paramedic who was hurt after wrong-way driver hit ambulance recalls crash

Paul Sanchez hopes to return to work by the end of the year after being suspended by his seat belt in the head-on collision


By EMS1 Staff

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A paramedic who was injured in an ambulance crash with a wrong-way driver recalled the experience.

Paramedic Paul Sanchez, 22, told Arkansas Online he remembers everything about the Jan. 6 crash.

He and paramedic Darius Williams were returning to Little Rock when they saw a car’s headlights coming at them.

“My partner exclaimed there was a car, and at the last minute I tried to turn right, but we had already made impact,” Sanchez said. “From there, we rolled about once and kind of bounced off the ground.”

Sanchez said Williams did not immediately respond when he called out for him.

“At first I was a little scared when I was first calling for him and he wasn’t responding,” Sanchez said. “But then once he finally responded back I knew that at least we’d be somewhat okay. I wasn’t alone, and he wouldn’t be alone also.”

Sanchez was suspended in the air by his seatbelt, his right foot was trapped inside the vehicle and he could feel that his leg was broken. He called for help as Williams got out to examine the rig.

“The first thing I asked [Williams] is, ‘How’s my hair?’” Sanchez recalled.

Williams then went over to the vehicle that struck them and found that the driver, Briana Carter, was dead.

Sanchez was freed from the wreckage by his responding colleagues about 45 minutes after the crash. The two paramedics were transported to the hospital.

Williams was released the next day, but Sanchez faces two month of rehabilitation after suffering two breaks in his femur and two to the heel of his right foot. He expects to be released from the hospital Friday.

Sanchez, who is also a combat medic in the National Guard, said he probably won’t fully recover for a year, but he hopes to return to work before then.

“Yeah, it’s a bump in the road," he said, "but I know I can overcome it.”

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