While Lewiston Fire Department medics usually go to the scene of accidents, Patricia Wilson allegedly brought the accident to them Saturday night.
According to the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office, Wilson crashed into the fire department's garage on 13th Street after being pursued into town by a Nez Perce County sheriff's deputy. Interim fire chief Travis Myklebust said Wilson's vehicle blasted through a garage door and struck the department's front-line medic unit, pushing it back into another ambulance.
"So it damaged two of our ambulances," Myklebust said. "One of them is definitely out of commission. It appears that it may have bent the frame, so it could end up being totaled. It's hard to tell yet."
The second ambulance only had a dented bumper and hood and can be used in a back-up role until it is repaired, Myklebust said. Luckily, another ambulance just got back into town after being refitted, and can be put into service once it has radios and other equipment installed.
"This week we will be expediting getting that vehicle put back into service," he said. "Which is easy because all of our ambulances are set up exactly the same way. It's easy to move equipment around."
Wilson, 48, suffered a severely broken leg but had no life-threatening injuries. Myklebust said the medics at the station had to extricate her from the wreckage.
"They treated her and then transported her in the only remaining ambulance we had at the station," he said. "Thank goodness we had three ambulances."
A garage door company came in the middle of the night to repair the damaged door so the station could be secured, he added.
Replacing an ambulance would cost about $160,000. Myklebust said the insurance card in Wilson's vehicle was expired, but the city has insurance that should help if the ambulance has to be replaced.
According to the sheriff's office, a deputy attempted to stop Wilson at about 10:39 p.m. on Lindsay Creek Road after she allegedly came close to striking his patrol vehicle. Wilson allegedly drove the green 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at a high rate of speed to East Main Street, ran the light at 21st Street, and continued to G Street before failing to make the turn onto 13th Street.
Wilson, of Lapwai, was in fair condition at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center Sunday afternoon, according to a nursing supervisor.
Idaho State Police are conducting the crash investigation while the sheriff's office is investigating the incident as a possible DUI, according to a news release.
Myklebust said the accident marred what was otherwise an "extremely quiet" weekend. The department had two minor fireworks-related calls, but Lewiston residents were generally safe and sane with their Independence Day celebrations, he said. Things were also relatively quiet on the other side of the river, according to Clarkston Fire Department acting Capt. Melissa Welter.
"In the past years, we were up and going until 1 o'clock in the morning," Welter said, noting that the department only responded to two fires that were already out when firefighters arrived.
ISP also reported a quiet weekend, aside from a couple of accidents and numerous speeding tickets. Trooper Andy Schoonmaker said the department did assist local agencies at a couple of campsites near Grangeville with reports of underage drinking.
Mills may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2266.
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