Less than 72 hours after it happened, a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in the ambulance crash on I-40 Friday night, that ejected and killed the two people in the rear of the ambulance. The family of the patient that was in the ambulance filed suit in a Nashville court on Monday.
Patient Nyema Jackson, 36, and paramedic Zachary Pruitt, 36, were killed after they were ejected from the rear of an ambulance during a crash on I-40 Friday night. Excessive speed for the road conditions is the preliminary ruling on the cause of the wreck.
The lawsuit, brought for patient Nyema Jackson by her ex-husband, on behalf of their minor daughter, seeks compensatory and wrongful death damages against the ambulance company West Tennessee Healthcare, and additionally the ambulance driver, Deborah Schichtel. The suit alleges that Deborah Schichtel lost control of the ambulance, causing it to leave the roadway and hit the interstate wall, resulting in the patient, Nyema Jackson, being one of the people thrown from the ambulance, suffering fatal injuries.
The suit continues, alleging that Schichtel was negligent by failing to maintain a proper lookout, by failing to maintain proper control of her vehicle, by driving too fast for the road conditions, by failing to make use of the proper visual and audible emergency signals, and by disregarding her duty to use due care for safety of all persons by recklessly disregarding the safety of others.
The Madison County Ambulance was on I-40 East transporting the patient to Vanderbilt. When it was near the Charlotte Pike exit, when it negotiated a curve on the interstate and left the roadway to the right and struck a rock wall. The rear of the ambulance sustained significant damage, and the paramedic and patient in the back were ejected. The ambulance eventually came to rest back in the travel lanes of I-40. MNFD transported the two ejected to Vanderbilt after receiving CPR on scene, however they died at the hospital.
The driver of the ambulance, 55-year-old Deborah Schichtel, told officers that she hydroplaned. She received minor injuries and was also treated at Vanderbilt. Witnesses report that no emergency lights were on at the time of the accident. Preliminary investigations results are ruling the wreck a result of excessive speed for the road and weather conditions.