Ice Falls From Truck, Hits Ambulance Transporting Patient

One Pennsylvania ambulance unit narrowly missed a disaster Friday morning thanks to the quick thinking of the driver.

A Central Bucks Ambulance and Rescue Unit was heading northbound on York Road in Buckingham when a chunk of ice struck the windshield. 

"It was scary," said Scott Henley, deputy chief paramedic who was driving the ambulance. "Luckily I saw it coming and I was able to at least have a couple seconds to figure something out."

The ice hit the windshield at 11:37 a.m. when a tree-trimming truck covered in snow passed the unit heading southbound, he said. 

Henley and his partner, Stephanie D'Andrea, were transporting a patient when the accident occurred. The damage forced Henley to pull the unit over and wait for a second ambulance to arrive to continue the transport.

"Luckily the patient wasn't in any severe distress," he said.

Henley says his first thought was to protect himself and the other passengers when he saw the "substantial" ice chunk flying towards him.  One arm blocked his head and face, he says, while his other hand remained on the wheel.

Central Bucks Ambulance and Rescue Unit Chief Chuck Pressler says the pair handled themselves well.  "They didn't panic," he said. "They didn't swerve, slam on the brakes or anything." 

The medics reported the incident to police, who have not yet located the vehicle, said Henley, who added the truck driver is likely unaware that the ice fell.

The accident comes just days after the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission issued a reminder to drivers to clear snow and ice from their cars.

"We urge all motorists to clear snow and ice from their vehicles, not only for their safety, but for the safety of everone traveling Pennsylvania roadways," said PTC Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey. 

If any snow or ice falls from a vehicle and causes injury or death to other drivers or pedestrians, the motorist can face fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 for each offense.  Motorists are not liable for snow that collects on their vehicle while driving.

The Central Bucks Ambulance unit is out of service until the cracked windshield can be repaired, Pressler said. 

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