Operator who drove ambulance through Raleigh flood waters to be disciplined


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The director of an ambulance company said one of his drivers misjudged how high Raleigh flood waters were before the vehicle became stuck.

On Thursday, rain caused flooding along Durham Drive and Gideon Creek Way in Raleigh, an area known for flooding and one that has an ongoing drainage problem.

RELATED: Heavy rain causes flooding in Raleigh near Tryon Road

Fresenius Kidney Care Southwest Wake, a dialysis center, is located in the area. Police said an ambulance got caught in the water after dropping someone off at the center. Police said no one was stuck inside the ambulance.

That ambulance was from family-owned First Choice Medical Transport.

Company director Marcus Varsano said the waters weren’t as high when the driver initially attempted to drive through.

“It wasn’t past the door when he tried to go through it. It only went to the bottom where the engine bay is,” Varsano said. “And unfortunately, it was high enough word stalled out the engine and he couldn’t make it through.”

Varsano chalked up the incident to misjudgment by the operator. He said because there was no patient in the back of the ambulance, the driver thought he could chance going through the rising water.

He said drivers are not trained to drive in flooded areas.

“That’s not a normal thing unfortunately. It was one of those anomalies we don’t deal with – it’s actually the first time we ever dealt with it,” Varsano said.

Varsano said he intends on talking to drivers about driving through high water in the future situations.

He also said the ambulance driver who drove into this high water will be disciplined.

But he declined to say what the punishment will be.

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