A young child sustained life-threatening injuries after police said a Winston-Salem man drove drunk on southbound U.S. 52 early Sunday morning and crashed into the ambulance that was transporting the child to an area hospital.
At about 1:15 a.m., Winston-Salem police officers responded to a vehicle wreck in which a Lifecare ambulance from Wise, Va., overturned on southbound U.S. 52 near the Liberty Street exit.
Police said that a 2003 Honda Accord and the ambulance were traveling south on U.S. 52 when the Accord collided with the left side of the ambulance, causing both drivers to lose control. The Accord, driven by 27-year-old Jose Martin Duran Romero of the 400 block of Neston Drive, ran off the road, police said.
The juvenile in the ambulance, who has not been identified, was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries. Lt. Rick Newnum of the Winston-Salem Police Department said the juvenile was a patient and that the ambulance was taking the juvenile to one of the hospitals in Winston-Salem when the crash occurred.
The driver of the ambulance, Joshua Dewayne Church, 34, of Wise; Lyndsay Ann Oakes, 27, of Wise; and paramedic Rickey Clayton Ratliff, 55, of Appalachia, Va., were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries, police said. Newnum said Oakes is the mother of the juvenile.
Newnum said Romero and the passenger in the Accord, Andres Figueroa, 33, of the 700 block of Anson Street, ran away after the crash. One of the men was immediately detained by one of the witnesses of the crash, Newnum said. Winston-Salem police officers established a perimeter and soon captured the other man.
Romero was charged with driving while impaired, failure to reduce speed and having no operator’s license. He was given a $50,000 bond. Leon was charged with failure to render aid/give information. He was given a $1,000 bond.
The crash is still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the police at (336) 773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at (336) 727-2800.