A local ambulance and transportation company already under investigation is now under even more scrutiny after one of its vehicles lost a tire while a sick infant was onboard.
The Keystone Quality Transport ambulance broke down on the Garden State Parkway last Thursday while carrying a sick baby. The child had to be taken by medical chopper to St. Christopher’s Hospital as the ambulance was towed.
The ambulance broke down only a few days after NBC10 first reported Keystone, a medical transport service with locations in Port Richmond, Parkside and Springfield, was under investigation for possible safety violations. Dozens of vehicles and five drivers were taken off the streets.
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Richard Gibbons, director of the State Bureau of EMS, confirmed Keystone was under investigation though he didn’t reveal why. He did tell NBC10 however that the orange “Out of Service” stickers placed on the back of the vehicles were indicative of a safety issue.
“There can be a variety of issues,” Gibbons said. “Generally there’s something about the vehicle that makes it an immediate threat or potential immediate threat to life safety. Therefore we put it out of service until it’s corrected.”
NBC10 reached out to Keystone’s president Steve Barr for comment on Thursday’s incident but we have not yet heard from him. NBC10 later heard from a Keystone spokesperson.
“The ambulance simply hit an object in the road and had a flat tire,” the spokesman said.
Daniel Scull, the general manager of Court House Towing, doesn’t believe that’s what happened however.
“That wasn’t something that you could just run over,” Scull said. “In the event that it was, then both tires would be flat and they’d still be intact. It was not just a flat tire.”
A picture of the ambulance shows that the rear tire is completely missing. Scull says the lug nuts and studs that hold the tire on the vehicle were broken.
“We have to rely on our ambulances to be in tip top shape for the specific reasons that when we need to go somewhere and be transported, we rely on that to save our life,” Scull said.
Scull also says the tire that came off the ambulance was never found.
Officials with Keystone say that 80 percent of the vehicles taken off the road by state inspectors are now back in service. State inspectors still have not revealed the specific reason why the company is under investigation.