Three injured after paramedic apparently falls asleep at wheel

February 05, 1993

An Anne Arundel County paramedic apparently fell asleep yesterday while driving a cardiac patient to Howard County General Hospital, wrecking his ambulance and injuring himself and two others, authorities said.

The ambulance struck a light pole and a tree on Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia at 12:30 p.m., police said. The ambulance driver, Robert Valderas, 35, and the patient, John Lanahan of Jessup, were taken to Howard County General Hospital. Mr. Lanahan was in the hospital's critical care unit late yesterday. Mr. Valderas was treated and released.

Lt. John Dennett, 34, a paramedic treating the patient in the ambulance, was flown by state police helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where he was in serious but stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The accident occurred about two blocks from the hospital, said Howard police Detective Mike Sherman. "Apparently, he had been working an enormous amount of hours and was physically exhausted," he said. Police are investigating the accident.

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