EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Spotswood EMT was killed Saturday morning when a car slammed into the ambulance she was riding in as it responded to a call in a neighboring town.
The accident happened just before 8 a.m. at the intersection of Ryders Lane and Cranbury Road in East Brunswick.
Authorities said the ambulance was on its way to assist at an auto accident when the crash occurred. No patients were in the ambulance at the time.
“They were on Ryders Lane approaching the intersection of Cranbury Road, from witness accounts, with their lights and sirens on,” said Police Lt. Kevin Zebro. “Collided with another vehicle that was traveling on Cranbury Road, causing the ambulance to then turn on to its side.”
The ambulance then slid into a Subaru that was stopped at the light, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.
Spotswood EMT Hinal Patel, who was in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, was killed, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
The 24-year-old ambulance driver, Mark Seube, and the driver of the other car, 58-year-old Kathleen Meade, suffered non-life threatening injuries. Both were treated at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, Patel was about to start school, and this was to be her final shift as an EMT when the crash happened.
— Monmouth Co. Sheriff (@MonmouthSheriff) July 25, 2015
Spotswood EMS Director Miriam Barbarise said Patel was one of the best EMTs she ever worked with.
“She was very inquisitive. She was kind. She was caring and she was compassionate,” Barbarise said. “She loved anybody and everybody.”
Now, purple bunting hangs outside the Spotswood EMS’ ambulance bay.
The North Stelton Volunteer Fire Company, where Patel volunteered, released a statement saying “Hinal was a very smart and dedicated member of our family and she will be greatly missed.”
Patel graduated from Rutgers University in May with a degree in cell biology and neuroscience. She planned to go back to Rutgers this fall to get her masters degree in biomedical science, Kozar reported.
Patel’s family told Kozar they are devastated by their loss.
At the busy intersection where Patel died, local resident Donna Justich said she was saddened but not surprised because cars are constantly speeding throught.
“People do not slow down and when there are police or ambulance, they’re not aware,” she said.
The crash is currently under investigation by the East Brunswick Police Department Special Operations Section.
Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Ptl. John Bird or Ptl. Glenn Tabasko of the East Brunswick Police Department Special Operations Section at (732) 390-6969.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)