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Police: EMS provider fell asleep before fatal ambulance crash

Responders were transporting a patient to a nursing home when the crash occurred


The crashed ambulance.

Photo/State Police Department

By Tim Hahn
Erie Times-News

DUNKIRK, N.Y. — The driver of an EmergyCare ambulance that crashed in Dunkirk, New York, late Tuesday afternoon, killing a man being transported to a nursing home, told investigators she fell asleep behind the wheel, according to the New York State Police.

State police identified the driver Wednesday afternoon as Robin Morey, 49, of Erie. The victim of the crash was identified by police as 77-year-old Arthur R. McArthur, of Dunkirk.

The crash remained under investigation Wednesday afternoon. Blood testing on Morey, for drugs or alcohol, is being done as standard practice in fatal traffic crashes, and the results aren’t expected to be back for six to eight weeks, said Trooper James O’Callaghan, public information officer for state police Troop A in Batavia, N.Y.

O’Callaghan said Morey told investigators she fell asleep while driving. Investigators don’t believe at this point that any “outside factors” were involved in the single-vehicle crash, which happened on Route 5 in Dunkirk on Tuesday at about 5:40 p.m., he said.

The EmergyCare ambulance, driven by Morey, was transporting McArthur from UPMC Hamot to the Chautauqua County Home, according to Bill Hagerty, EmergyCare’s executive director. The ambulance was traveling east on Route 5 when it left the roadway, went into a ditch and struck a culvert, state police reported.

McArthur was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy will be performed at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, according to the Chautauqua County Coroner’s Office.

Morey was taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk and was treated and released. A male emergency medical technician who was in the back of the ambulance, whose name was not released, was taken to UPMC Hamot. He was in stable condition Wednesday, Hagerty said.

Hagerty said EmergyCare is giving state police its full cooperation in the ongoing investigation. Morey has been “very cooperative” in the investigation, O’Callaghan said.

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