Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Boy in ambulance hit by driver now fighting for life

Jose Martin Duran Romero Jose Martin Duran Romero
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 12:29

A toddler riding in an ambulance that was struck by an accused drunken driver on US 52 early Sunday has died, authorities said Monday evening.

Around 1 a.m. Sunday, police say Romero was driving on USA 52 South in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he struck the ambulance. It's not clear what had happened to the boy but Newnum said he was in stable condition before the crash.

Court documents reveal that Jose Romero, 27, the driver accused of crashing into an ambulance in Winston-Salem early Saturday morning was "grossly impaired".

The ambulance carrying the child was being operated by Lifecare Ambulance in Wise, Va. Officials there say they would not comment on the incident.

Gary Oakes said Monday his grandson had been under medical care before the crash but didn't want to elaborate.

The driver of the auto that hit the ambulance faces charges including driving while intoxicated.

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The ambulance and Romero's auto were both heading south on USA 52 when investigators say the vehicle hit the left side of the medical transport, causing both drivers to lose control.

Newnum said Romero and the passenger in the Accord, Andres Figueroa Leon, 33, of the 700 block of Anson Street, ran away after the crash. The ambulance then rolled over on its side. One of the men was immediately detained by one of the witnesses of the crash, Newnum said. Court documents said he had a blood-alcohol content of.19 percent, slurred speech and glassy eyes at the time of the crash. He is now being detained at the Forsyth, North Carolina detention center. Federal authorities also believe Romero was in the country illegally. Romero is also on an immigration retainer, meaning that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents could take custody of him should he make bail on the existing charges.

The driver of the ambulance, Joshua Dewayne Church, 34, of Wise, Lyndsay Oakes, and paramedic Rickey Clayton Ratliff, 55, of Appalachia, Virginia, were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. Leon secured his release from the Forsyth County detention center on Sunday night.

Romero remains in jail.

Romero and Leon are scheduled to appear in Forsyth District Court on April 17.

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