Jefferson County First Responders Crash During 911 Transfer

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By Hilary LeHew

JEFFERSON CO. -- The Ina police department is down a squad car, after it collided with an ambulance that was transporting a patient Friday night. The police chief says it was a difficult night for all involved.

Both the squad car and the ambulance are both damaged, but they're probably not as beat up as the first responders who handled the critical call.

Ina Police Chief Travis Allen insists nobody likes an emergency that involves an infant.

The mangled squad car is just part of a series of unfortunate events Jefferson County emergency responders experienced that night.

"They're very upset and our thoughts and prayers go out to that family," says Allen.

He explains a Georgia mother and her three children were traveling through the state, when they decided to make a stop at this busy gas station in Ina.

"Approximately 6:45 (p.m.), my officer responded to Love's in report of a seven-week-old baby not breathing," he says.

The Ina officer was the first to arrive on scene and began performing CPR on the infant on top of the gas station counter.

"Done that for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until EMS could arrive on scene," says Allen.

The baby was loaded into a Litton ambulance and driven with police escort to Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon. Then, the situation escalated right in front of the hospital.         

"My officer pulled into the 4-way intersection to block traffic for the ambulance to go through," Allen explains. "It was wet, it was dark, slick; the ambulance come through and collided with the back of the sqad car."

Despite the crash, Allen says the ambulance kept going and was able to get the baby to the hospital.

"I know in my heart those guys were doing everything they could to save this child," he insists.

Allen and the owner of the Litton Ambulance Service agree it's an unfortunate situation, and nobody is to blame.

"The paramedics, the police officer, everyone was trying to save this child, and just bad things like that can happen," Allen adds. "We're just fortunate that none of the first responders were injured."

The baby was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital. According to Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Jo Marks, autopsy results show the baby died of natural causes.

This is the second time the Ina squad car has been in the shop. Allen says they just got it back a week ago after it struck a deer. His department is now down to one squad car.

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