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Fla. ambulance crew in stable condition after crash

A driver ran a red light while fleeing a traffic stop and collided with a Med Fleet ambulance injuring four people

By Barbara Behrendt
Tampa Bay Times

LARGO, Fla. — A Med Fleet Ambulance employee sustained life-threatening injuries and three others were also injured early Saturday morning when a driver ran a red light and hit the emergency transport, causing it to flip.

Willie Lee Daniels, 41, had been stopped for a traffic violation at 2:44 a.m. but fled at a high rate of speed before causing the accident minutes later, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

A Med Fleet Ambulance, driven by 25-year-old Derrick Gil, had been traveling westbound on East Bay Drive, east of North Missouri Avenue before the crash. The ambulance was transporting a 70-year-old patient, who was being treated by 28-year-old medic Ashley Markel, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

The ambulance was traveling at approximately 35 miles per hour when it entered the intersection of East Bay Drive and North Missouri Avenue with a solid green traffic signal, according to investigators. Daniels was driving a 2014 BMW X1 north on Seminole Boulevard when he entered the intersection and struck the ambulance at a high rate of speed, causing it to rotate and turn on its side, according to the report.

Just prior to the accident, deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Daniels for an unidentified violation near Ridge Road and Ulmerton Road. Daniels initially stopped for deputies but quickly made a U-turn and fled north on Seminole Boulevard at a high rate of speed, the investigators reported.

The deputy did not pursue Daniels, according to investigators, but deactivated his lights and sirens and resumed normal driving.

After the accident, Gil was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Markel, Daniels, and the patient in the ambulance were transported to the hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

Criminal charges are pending. According to investigators, speed and impairment of Daniels appear to be factors in the crash.

The investigation continues.

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