Date: June 5, 2005 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Grady Judd
Media Contact:

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 981-2374 Pager

PCSO Investigating Crash Involving Ambulance

Polk County Sheriff's traffic crash investigators are investigating a crash that occurred this morning near Haines City involving an ambulance.

At 0450 hours on Sunday, June 5, 2005, ALS unit 25, a 2005 Freightliner ambulance, was driving westbound on US Hwy 17-92 just past US Hwy 27 near Haines City, returning to their Lake Alfred base after a call.
As they crested a small hill on the road, they saw an unknown Hispanic male standing in the roadway, and the unit swerved to the right to avoid hitting him. Unfortunately, the man jumped backwards at the same time, right into the path of the oncoming ambulance.  The ambulance struck the pedestrian, drove through an orange grove, struck a truck in a nearby house's carport, and then struck the side of the house.

The unidentified man was airlifted to LRMC with serious injuries.  Detectives are still trying to identify him, and he is described as a Hispanic male in his late teens or early 20's, with short black hair, wearing blue jeans and beige work boots. It is uknown if he was wearing a shirt. He is in critical condition at LRMC.

There were 12 people in the home that was struck, located at 2802 US Hwy 17-92, which is being rented by Ricardo Martinez and Maria Aroyo, but nobody inside was injured. The truck that was hit is a 1999 Ford F-150 Lariat, belonging to Jose Manuel Alatriste-Almanza, who was in the home visiting with friends. Red Cross responded to the scene to assist the people in the home with housing, as the house was damaged to the point where it is unsafe.

The ambulance driver, 50-year-old E.M.T. Webb W. Weeks II, and the paramedic/passenger, 39-year-old Kristin Henderson, were not injured.  The westbound lanes of Hwy 17-92 were closed for several hours during the investigation. The investigation is ongoing.

If you have any information on the identity of the victim, please contact Deputy Sheriff David Hooyman at 863-533-0344 or 863-944-7307.

Distribution: Chief of Staff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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