Injured ambulance workers in good spirits but face long recovery

Published 7:23 pm Friday, December 22, 2017

Two CARE Ambulance employees are on the road to recovery after a head-on collision last week with an 18-wheeler.

Jamie Lee, area manager for CARE Ambulance, said Roger Doug Jones and William Austin were on their way to a call when the crash happened near the intersection of Alabama Highway 22 North and Dallas County Road 81.

“Looking at that wreck and the space that was left there and the damage that was there, there is no way either one of them should be alive,” Lee said. “It could have been so much worse.”

Both men were hurt so badly in the crash they had to be airlifted from the scene. Austin was driving the ambulance, and Jones was riding in the passenger seat. Lee said Jones, who has been with CARE for nearly 10 years, was able to get out, while Austin was entrapped.

Lee said Austin broke both of his arms and legs and suffered bruised lungs. Jones suffered bruised lungs and had several compression fractures in his lower back. He also had lacerations to his leg and head.

“They’re both in good spirits,” Lee said. “The medic (Jones) is going to be out for a while, but the driver (Austin) has a long, long road ahead of him.”

Lee said Jones is at home now after being released from the hospital Monday. She said Austin had what they hope is his last surgery this week.

“Of course, he is in a lot of pain,” Lee said. “But hopefully, within the next week or so he’ll get moved to rehab.”

Lee said the day after the accident was the seven-year anniversary of the death of paramedic Laura Pullam.

She was killed in 2010 while working a crash scene on Interstate 65 in Montgomery.

“It was her looking out for them. It had to be,” Lee said.

Lee said getting the call about Jones and Williams was like déjà vu.

“It was pretty scary, especially the first call we got from 911 that asked us if we were aware that our truck had been in an accident,” she said.

“We tried to make contact and couldn’t make contact.”

Lee said the damage to the ambulance was horrific.

“You couldn’t even tell it was an ambulance. The motor was pushed in-between the driver and passenger seats,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of wrecks with ambulances, but I’ve never seen one that looked like that and somebody survive.”

GoFundMe pages have been set up for both Jones and Williams to help them with recovery expenses. They can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/doug-medical-recovery-fund and https://www.gofundme.com/william-medical-recovery-fund.

Lee said she wanted to thank everyone that has checked in on them and sent their thoughts and prayers for Austin and Jones.