UPDATE | Pittston ambulance totaled in collision, driver faces DUI charges
LAFLIN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) —
UPDATE 06/27/2018: Lawrence Vanburen-Morgan, of Nanticoke, has been charged with DUI and reckless driving relating to the collision back in January.
ORIGINAL STORY 01/20/2018: First responders are usually on the receiving end of an emergency call.
Thursday night it was two paramedics asking for help.
"It's shocking. And your first thought is your colleagues who are inside that ambulance," said Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance VP Michael Lombardo.
This is what's left of their ambulance - bent, broken and smashed in - after a vehicle hit them head-on on Route 315, just off Yatesville Rd.
The other vehicle appears to have gone into the wrong lane, straight into them.
State Police believe that driver, Lawrence Vanburen-Morgan of Nanticoke, was under the influence.
"It's hard to process your thoughts. We're used to dealing with stressful situations, it's obviously what this job is all about. But it's different when it's your people involved, when it's your organization involved," shared Lombardo.
Two paramedics were inside.
One was driving.
The other was in the back treating a patient.
All were on their way to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital, less than 10 minutes away.
"Different emergency service agencies showed up at the scene to help us," he said.
While pretty banged up, the paramedics still sprung into action.
"Without any regard for their own injuries, whatever injuries they might have sustained in the crash, immediately went to work assessing the scene, assessing the patient they were already transporting, and assessing the individuals that were in the other vehicle that had just struck the ambulance," Lombardo said.
Now their team is down an ambulance.
This one was custom made for $165,000 and took a year to get to get.
"It will be somewhat of a struggle for us. We do have reserve vehicles but it's not something we expect in the normal course of business. Normally we like to plan these things out, but life happens and we have to adjust," Lombardo said.
And while the truck is totaled, they tell us they're just grateful their colleagues walked away.
"We hope to get them back out on the road as soon as possible, but we wanna make sure obviously they're okay before we progress to that," he shared.
Pittston Regional Ambulance says the two team members will be okay, but are pretty bruised and shaken up. Both are resting at home.
No one else was seriously injured.
State Police are continuing to investigate.