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Ambulances crash

rescuer dies

February 05, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A routine ambulance transport involving a Waynesboro Hospital patient turned extraordinary and deadly early Wednesday.

The Mont Alto (Pa.) Ambulance Squad was called to take a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to a Harrisburg, Pa., area hospital. However, an accident at 1:45 a.m. put that ambulance out of commission.

Three miles into its own journey, the substitute ambulance that picked up the woman also crashed.

"I don't know where the patient was taken, but I understand she made it to the hospital," said Jim Hall, emergency coordinator for Silver Spring Township, Pa., in Cumberland County.

The driver of the second ambulance, 66-year-old Barry Nagle, suffered a medical emergency and died. He lost consciousness and the ambulance crashed into a swale, Hall said.

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Nagle, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., is believed to have suffered a heart attack, Hall said.

"The crew did assist Barry," he said.

Snow squalls limited visibility for the Mont Alto ambulance throughout its trip, according to Charlie Baker, president of Mont Alto's fire department and ambulance squad.

The driver of Mont Alto's ambulance does not know whether he hit a sign or a piece of debris on the road, Baker said. The windshield shattered, and an insurance adjuster visited the squad Thursday to assess the extent of damage, he said.

The accident occurred on Interstate 81 in the northbound lanes near Mechanicsburg, Pa., Baker said.

In addition to the patient and driver, an emergency medical technician and two nurses were involved in the first accident, Baker said. No one was hurt, he said.

A third ambulance took volunteer Silver Spring EMT George Weimer from the second accident to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center. He remained in the intensive care unit Wednesday afternoon, but was upgraded to "good" condition Thursday.

A viewing and services for Nagle are being held this evening and Saturday morning. Burial will be in Rolling Green Cemetery in Camp Hill, Pa.

Hall said Nagle's death was the first in the line of duty for Silver Spring Township volunteers. He had been a first responder for five years.

"The ambulance folks are devastated by this. ... We're all in a brotherhood," he said.

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