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Back up EMS crews delayed responding to I-90 fatal crash

Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 16:22:43-04

Dispatch recordings revealed that a call for back up EMS crews took nearly 30 minutes to provide all of the necessary units during Thursday night’s fatal five-car crash on I-90. 

It happened in the westbound lanes of 1-90 near Eddy Road around 9:50pm. 

It started with a single vehicle crash near milepost 177, west of Eddy Road. The driver of a 2003 Ford F-150 stopped to provide assistance and check on the occupants of the crashed vehicle. 

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, as the driver exited the F-150, a tan 2003 Ford Taurus struck the rear of the F-150. A blue 2011 Chevrolet Cruze struck the rear of the Ford Taurus causing the Taurus to burst into flames. 

A white 2013 Kia Soul immediately struck the Cruze, forcing the Cruze into the middle and right lanes of Interstate 90 where a white 2007 International semi struck the Cruze.

The driver of the Ford Taurus was pronounced dead at the scene and six others were injured. 

The city told newsnet5.com that the first ambulance arrived within 9 minutes of the call. 

But the Cleveland Association of Rescue employees told newsnet5.com that some of the additional back up vehicles were unavailable, with the last one arriving on the scene nearly 30 minutes after the initial call. 

Daniel Nemeth, President of the Cleveland Association of Rescue Employees, told newsnet5.com that’s because there were not enough vehicles available to respond. 

“We’ve been telling the city it’s an insufficient number of ambulances to be staffing with the call volumes that we have going on.” 

Nemeth said call volumes have risen to 115,000 calls per year, from about 87,000 calls in the year 2000. And since then the fleet has lost 5 vehicles. 

He said some of the remaining vehicles with high mileage are often taken out of the fleet for repairs. 

“It’s a safety issue. It’s absolutely a safety issue,” Nemeth said. “It’s basic math.” 

Nemeth said he has informed EMS Commissioner Nicole Carlton about the problem over the last year but it has not been addressed. 

Newsnet5.com requested an interview with Carlton, but the request was denied. 

The city did not many anyone available for comment on Friday. A spokesman replied Tuesday that the dispatch recording was in reference to a separate medical call. The second unit was on scene within 15 minutes of the call, the third unit was on scene within 17 minutes. The spokesperson also said that the city has never had 23 medical units.