Drunk driver hits ambulance, 2 ATCEMS medics injured

Two medics with Austin-Travis County EMS were injured after a drunk driver rear-ended their ambulance.

With South by Southwest in full swing, and thousands of people flooding the Austin area, it has been all hands on deck for all law enforcement agencies.

"We've had a lot of calls, just honestly the normal Austin calls, so much so that we even had to start slowing down some of our responses to our low priority calls and hold them until we had ambulances available," said Selena Xie, President of the Austin EMS Association.

Sunday, March 12 was business as usual as medics were called out to the scene of an emergency on East Riverside and Congress Ave. Two medics had the ambulance's emergency lights on while treating a patient when things got dicey.

"While they were rendering care to the patient in the back of the ambulance, a reported drunk driver rear ended them at a relatively high rate of speed," said Cpt. Christa Stedman, Public Information Officer for ATCEMS.

The drunk driver hit the ambulance at a speed of about 50 miles per hour, injuring both medics inside and sending one to the hospital.

"We got lucky in this one. One of the paramedics that was in the back of the ambulance was actually just about to get out the back door of the ambulance, so if this accident happened even a split second later, we'd probably be having a much different conversation," said Cpt. Stedman.

Officials' best advice is to not drink and drive.

Also, remember to move over one lane or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when you see an emergency vehicle with its lights on.

"If this person had slowed down to 20 miles an hour under the posted speed limit, they would have been doing about ten miles an hour, and it wouldn't have been nearly as bad," said Cpt. Stedman.