The search for a patient who had run away from a private ambulance service had been on for almost two hours this morning before the patient made his way onto the highway and was struck by a transport truck and killed, The Telegram has learned.
According to Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) Const. Talia Murphy, several calls were received from the area.
The first was from “the ambulance department,” shortly after 12:30 a.m. It was logged by police as a request for assistance to an external agency.
“There was more than one 911 call,” Murphy said, explaining “multiple” other calls came in to 911 following the initial call requesting RNC go to the area. Since RNC had already been dispatched, not all of the calls were logged and readily available, she said.
The final call logged by the RNC is from when the police were called to the accident scene at 2:12 a.m.
At 2:17 a.m., the RNC called the RCMP, according to RCMP Sgt. Marc Coulombe, noting the accident scene — being on the highway — is in RCMP jurisdiction. Off the highway, the RNC would be responsible for services.
“Basically our traffic services and the members from Holyrood attended the scene and started the investigation into a pedestrian being struck by a transport truck,” Coulombe said.
The 19-year-old male Eastern Health patient and accident victim was ultimately pronounced dead.
“All I got speaking with (Staff Sgt.) Rick Robinson … was this guy came out on the road and basically was seen on the road by the driver of the truck, who couldn’t avoid him, and basically struck the pedestrian.”
Eastern Health is not providing the name of the private ambulance service responsible for transporting the patient to St. John’s, citing privacy concerns and early stages of the investigation.
Private ambulance services contacted by The Telegram have stated they cannot confirm whether or not they were involved in the case, also citing privacy concerns.
The Telegram asked for clarification on who would be responsible for the patient during a case involving a private ambulance service.
The written response received shortly thereafter from an Eastern Health spokeswoman stated, “As discussed earlier this morning, there is limited additional information we can provide at this time, as we have to protect the privacy of the patient and family. We will not be providing any further information at this time since the facts related to the incident are still being collected.”
Eastern Health says the pedestrian tragically killed on the Trans-Canada Highway, east of the Foxtrap Access Road, early this morning was a patient of the health authority.
In a news release, Eastern Health president and CEO Vickie Kaminski said, “On behalf of Eastern Health, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the patient’s family.”
Eastern Health said the patient was being transported from a health-care facility within its region to a health-care facility in St. John’s by a private ambulance service.
According to the release, "during the transport, the ambulance stopped along the highway due to the patient’s condition. While the vehicle was stopped, the patient left the ambulance and ran into a wooded area.The ambulance service contacted the police to assist in the search for the patient." Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, the patient was tragically killed by a vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway.
While an investigation into the accident is being conducted by the RCMP, Eastern Health is looking into the circumstances that occurred prior to and during the transport of the patient.
Eastern Health said there is limited additional information it can provide at this time, as it has to protect the privacy of the patient and family. However, Eastern Health continues to gather factual information relevant to the tragedy.
Media reports have indicated the victim was around 19 or 20 years of age. However, that hasn't been confirmed yet by police.
Media reports say this morning's accident just east of the Foxtrap Access Road is a pedestrian fatality.
Avalon East District/Holyrood RCMP have been on the scene in the east bound lane for hours.
The crash occurred around 3 a.m.
The lane has been closed and will remain closed until further notice.
All eastbound traffic is being diverted down the Foxtrap Access road to proceed along Route 60 (the old Conception Bay Highway).
Further details will be released as they become available.