Video: FDNY EMT severely hurt in off-duty crash applauded as she leaves hospital
A crowd of first responders cheered for Ashley Diaz, who placed her hand on her heart before being taken home in a transport van
By Shaina McLawrence
Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After nearly two months of a grueling recovery process in Staten Island University Hospital, Ashley Diaz is coming home to be her young son, Kevin.
The 29-year-old FDNY EMT was greeted by scores of first responders outside the Ocean Breeze hospital late Sunday morning. The emotional spectacle featured a ton of applause and cheers, as well as large shiny balloons, some of which were in the shape of an “A.” Diaz held a bouquet of flowers in her lap as she left the facility in a wheelchair being pushed by her boy.
Just over 50 days ago, on Sept. 15, Diaz was struck by a vehicle driven by an unlicensed motorist allegedly high on fentanyl. She suffered severe, life-changing injuries, including catastrophic injuries to her right leg, necessitating its amputation from above the knee, as well as a broken femur, broken clavicle, broken scapula, and trauma to the mouth that resulted in many broken teeth that were “scattered everywhere” when an unlicensed woman who was allegedly “heavily impaired by fentanyl and boosters of fentanyl,” according to Advance archives.
The SIUH staff, who cared for Diaz since mid-September, accompanied her out of the hospital. In addition to the applause and flowers was a poster that said “Station 43 loves you Ashley.”
As Diaz made her way through the cheering crowd, she placed her hand on her heart and blew air kisses to onlookers with her family and friends by her side.
An FDNY EMT transport van waited to bring Diaz home.
“I’ll see you at home buddy,” Diaz told her 4-year-old son, shedding tears, as she entered the van.
While Diaz enters the next phase of her recovery, the motorist accused of striking her while intoxicated, Nicole Marino, 31, a New Dorp resident, faces a slew of charges in relation to the crash. She faces up to seven years behind bars if convicted at trial.
“It makes me sick thinking about what happened to her,” said I Got Balls rice ball maker Ralphie Grotto, who’s one of two business owners who’ve pitched in to a GoFundMe established in Diaz’s name to help with mounting expenses.
BUSINESS OWNERS LEND SUPPORT
Starting Monday, Nov. 7 through the end of the month, Grotto will donate all weekday proceeds from his “I Got Balls” stand to Diaz’s GoFundMe.
He will be open from 11 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 2912 Arthur Kill Rd., Rossville, in front of Straightline Collision. The menu will be sausage and peppers " Brooklyn style,” Philly cheesesteaks, assorted rice balls and soft drinks. For the daily rice ball flavors, patrons are welcome to call or text Grotto directly at 718-674-4669.
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