An ambulance crashed into a guardrail and a sign pole on a rain-slick Interstate 95 in White Marsh yesterday, killing both a 71-year-old patient and a 22-year-old medical attendant inside the vehicle, state police said.
The ambulance was on its way to Fallston General Hospital at 11:17 a.m. -- minutes after a heavy rain -- when its driver, a Baltimore Fire Department ambulance driver who also works for the ambulance company in Parkville, lost control in the northbound lane of the interstate just north of White Marsh Boulevard, according to police.
It swerved off the right side of the highway and slammed through the guardrail and into a support pole of a large sign, police said.
Pronounced dead at the scene were Evelyn Stone, 71, of the 3500 block of Cornwall Court in Dundalk, and Thomas Joseph Hamilton, 22, of the 600 block of Pier Drive in Edgewood.
The driver, Marvin Benns, 28, of Parkville was listed in serious but stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Ms. Stone was being transported to the hospital as the result of a non-emergency call and Mr. Hamilton was serving as her attendant in the back, said Mike Szimanski, a spokesman for the Parkville-based Advanced Care Ambulance Co.
A neighbor said Ms. Stone had recently given up driving and was having health problems. Her son typically took care of her at her home in a quiet block in Dundalk, the neighbor said.
"She was a very sweet lady. I saw her leave in the ambulance this morning and she looked fine," the neighbor said. Ms. Stone was retired and had moved to Dundalk from Harford County, the neighbor said.
Private ambulance services provide transportation that often is not related to a medical emergency, Mr. Szimanski said. While privacy rules prevented him from saying precisely why Ms. Stone was going to the hospital, it could have been for a routine medical checkup, he said.
"We're devastated. We just don't know what could have happened," Mr. Szimanski said. "We've been getting an outpouring of sympathy from other medical services. This is a horrible thing to have happened."
Police said the cause of the accident was under investigation, and there was no preliminary finding of why the ambulance driver lost control.
Mr. Hamilton had been employed at Advanced Care Ambulance, which has a fleet of 19 ambulances, since November, Mr. Szimanski said.
Mr. Benns, the driver, is a city firefighter who works as a city ambulance driver when he is not driving for Advanced Care, Mr. Szimanski said.