Crash involving ambulance kills one, injures four - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Crash involving ambulance kills one, injures four

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Sarah Hottell Sarah Hottell

FLAHERTY, Ky.  (WDRB) -- One person was killed and four people were injured in a crash involving a Meade County EMS vehicle near Flaherty, Kentucky.

Meade County Sheriff Butch Kerrick said it happened on Ky. 313 at Ky. 333, south of U.S. 60 at 6:40 p.m. Thursday.

According to a news release from Kentucky State Police in Elizabethtown, three vehicles were involved. An investigation of the crash indicates that a silver 2008 Pontiac driven by 27-year-old Sarah S. Hottell of Brandenburg was eastbound on KY 333 and was approaching the intersection of KY 313. 

A Meade County Ambulance driven by 49-year-old Todd Flory of Vine Grove was southbound on KY 313 and was approaching the intersection of KY 333. Also in the ambulance was EMT Michael Wise, 48, from Payneville. 

A black Volkswagen driven by 47-year-old Maria P. Williams of Brandenburg was northbound on KY 313 and was also approaching the intersection of KY 333. 

Police say witnesses Hottell failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection and proceeded through the intersection at KY 313. That's when the ambulance swerved to avoid the Pontiac but was unable to do so. The ambulance struck the Pontiac in the driver's side front. 

The ambulance then left the roadway and overturned on the southbound side of the intersection, ejecting both Flory and Wise. The Volkswagen was struck by one of the other vehicles, but it wasn't immediately clear which vehicle struck the Volkswagen. 

The Pontiac also left the roadway on the south side and came to rest in a ditch. 

Hottell was pronounced dead at the scene.  Investigators say a 10-month-old child in Hottell's vehicle was properly restrained in a car seat but was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville.

The child was released from the hospital Friday morning and turned over to family members.

Williams was treated and released at Hardin Memorial Hospital. 

Wise and Flory were taken to University of Louisville Hospital with serious injuries. The investigation is ongoing.

Ky. 313 was formerly Ky. 144. It was renamed 313 with the completion of the nearby Joe Prather Highway from I-65 several years ago.

Wililams, one of the survivors of the crash, talked with WDRB on the phone, and says she would like to see a stoplight at this intersection or even some lighting in the area, but county officials say that probably will not happen.

Pictures of a crumpled ambulance show the severity of the wreck in Meade County. "It's a tragedy for the community," said Gerry Lynn, Meade County Judge Executive.

 "I think this is the fourth accident that we've had there, this is the first fatality that we've had there. It's a new road, it's a new intersection people I think are used to going further on that particular stretch of road," said Lynn.

Lynn does not think the state will install a stoplight or lights in the area. He is pushing for rumble strips and a flashing stop sign.

"It's a shame that a young person, 27 years old lost her life. Hopefully we can make that intersection safe again as we can to where that will never happen again," said Lynn.

Hottell's husband is Breckenridge County's High School football coach.

Her father is the county surveyor; her grandfather, the former superientendent for Meade County Schools.

The two EMT's--who were thrown out of the ambulance-- will be out for months.

"When you lose two and you're staffing 24/7 it does put a definite drain on the rest of the personnel," Lynn explained.

Investigators have not determined whether or not the EMTs were wearing seatbelts.

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