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Killdeer medic injured by speeding truck while responding to accident

An accident occurred Saturday evening in which a car rolled over. While providing roadside medical assistance, Killdeer first responder Joshua Edwards was injured by a moving vehicle that did not stop.

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According to the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office, first responders were rendering aid to those involved in a car accident that took place at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, on Highway 22 near mile marker 98, north of Manning. As a Killdeer paramedic was exiting the emergency vehicle, someone driving by struck the ambulance and left the scene. The Dunn County Sheriff's Office is requesting the public for any additional information to help identify the striking vehicle and the individual involved in the incident. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

The Dunn County Sheriff's Office is requesting the public's help in searching for an individual that was driving by an accident over the weekend near Manning on Highway 22 and struck an ambulance, injuring one of the paramedics on the scene.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, first responders were rendering aid to those involved in a car accident that took place at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, on Highway 22 near mile marker 98, north of Manning. As Joshua Edwards — a paramedic for Killdeer Ambulance — was exiting the emergency vehicle, someone driving by struck the ambulance and left the scene, the police statement read.

Edwards experienced soft tissue damage to his right arm, with deep bone and muscle bruising.

“While we were loading victims into the ambulance, I had stepped out of the side door to go to the rear of the ambulance to assist with it and a pickup clipped the side ambulance door and then clipped me because I was standing right behind the door,” Edwards said.

According to Killdeer Ambulance officials, the pickup was moving at about 40 to 45 mph.

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This is the third time Edwards, 39, has been injured by a moving vehicle while on duty in his 18 years in emergency medical services. The other two incidents occurred in 2005 and 2011, one of which kept him off the job for a month. This time he’ll be on light duty for a week, will attend physical therapy and expects to make a full recovery soon.

“I’m very lucky,” he said. “The ambulance actually fared very well too.”

Dunn County Emergency Services Manager Sarah Duttenhefner said that the car accident that took place prior to the ambulance being struck was a rollover of a vehicle with carrying five passengers. Three of the passengers were released at the scene and two were taken to the hospital for treatment, Duttenhefner said. Along with the Dunn County Sheriff's Office, West Dunn Fire Rescue District and Killdeer Ambulance were dispatched to the scene. The Halliday Ambulance was called for additional medical assistance.

The North Dakota Move Over Law states "that if an authorized emergency vehicle is parked or stopped on the interstate system or on a multi-lane highway outside the limits of a city, and the authorized emergency vehicle is displaying a flashing, revolving or rotating amber, blue, white or red light; the driver of an approaching vehicle shall proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way by moving to a lane that is not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if the move may be made with due regard to safety and traffic conditions or if not, the driver shall proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle and maintain a safe speed for the road conditions."

A survey conducted by AAA found that 23% of drivers are unaware of Move Over laws in their state. Of the 77% who said they were aware of the laws, only 15% understood the penalties.

Duttenhefner encouraged drivers to be alert.

“Slow down to a snail’s pace to get through an accident site,” she said.

Killdeer Ambulance Operations Chief Ann Hafner also urged drivers to be cognizant of those who are stopped on the side of the road.

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“When you see emergency lights on the side of the road, we’re not just testing our lights. It’s because there’s something going on and there’s people on the road,” she said. “Please stop if you’re directed to and if you’re not directed to stop, slow down. And when you see an ambulance, fire trucks and police cars coming toward you with lights on, please pull over and wait until they pass.”

Hafner advises people to practice safe driving, and said it’s tough on the community to have two major accidents in such a short timeframe.

“Last Wednesday, we lost a community member that was very dear to the ambulance service. Her name was Elaine Fettig ,” Hafner said. “She was a wonderful person, we loved her very much and for our community to have something like that happen again really makes us all scared and nervous.”

Hafner praised Warren Jensen, the driver who struck Fettig in that accident for his response.

“He stopped right away and did everything he could. This time when the ambulance and a paramedic were struck, it was a hit-and-run. Nobody will take responsibility, and that’s really disappointing. It’s been tough for Killdeer,” Hafner said.

The ambulance vehicle suffered roughly $250 in damages as paint on the door was scraped down to the metal, Edwards said.

Anyone with potential information about the driver of the truck is encouraged to call the Dunn County Sheriff's Office at 701-573-4449.

Related Topics: ACCIDENTSDICKINSONKILLDEER
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