The driver of an Orange County ambulance was charged with failure to maintain lane control after he lost control of the vehicle and it overturned on N.C. 86 on Saturday. The N.C. Highway Patrol charged Junior Cene, 31, of 3529 Day Road, Walkertown. Cene is an emergency medical technician for Orange County Emergency Services.
He, along with a 43-year-old female EMT from Gibsonville, and a 41-year-old male paramedic from Holly Springs, were taking a 55-year-old man from Hillsborough to UNC Hospitals for a medical condition.
It was a non-emergency transport, and the ambulance was going about 45 mph in a 50 mph zone when Cene ran off the right side of the road just before noon, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
He overcorrected and swerved back onto the road, veered back and forth another time, and then the ambulance flipped onto the driver’s side and skidded off the road.
Everyone in the ambulance was injured in the wreck and transported to UNC Hospitals for treatment, according to Kim Woodward, EMS operations manager. None of the injuries was life-threatening, although Cene was hospitalized until Tuesday.
Woodward would not give details about the patient’s injuries or condition because of confidentiality laws but said that on Saturday evening after the wreck, the patient was listed in good condition.
Orange County Emergency Management has not finished the investigation and there has been no determination about personnel discipline, Woodward said.
The ambulance, one of the newer vehicles in the fleet, is out of service, but that should not affect day-to-day service, Woodward said. The chassis appears to be destroyed, but the “box” in which patients are transported had only slight damage.
The bigger problem is the temporary loss of the crew.
“We’re always short-staffed, and we’re continually hiring new EMT’s and paramedics, so that hit us pretty hard,” Woodward said.