A rogue ambulance driver on his way back to a dispatch centre carrying no patients allegedly reached speeds of 145 km/h on Highway 16 before he stopped in the middle of the road and threatened the driver behind him.
The driver following the emergency vehicle was Bill Gade, owner of CJ Radio in Swan River, Neepawa and Gimli, who was travelling from Portage la Prairie early in the morning on Aug. 13 in a media-marked van when he noticed the ambulance, which he believes was from Ste. Rose Du Lac, driving erratically.
With no sirens on, the ambulance tailed Gade before passing him — that’s when Gade decided to follow the driver to see how fast he would go. According to Gade, his radio stations have received a number of complaints similar to the one he witnessed.
Gade said he called ambulance dispatch to notify them of the driver as the speed of the ambulance climbed.
“I governed out at 143 km/h in the news van and I couldn’t go any faster and he was getting away from me,” Gade told the Sun. “So we know it was 145 km/h, maybe more.
“You know you passed a marked media vehicle, obviously we’re the ones that called in, why would you do this? Don’t put on a show for us, because we’re from the media.”
Likely at the request of a dispatch operator, the ambulance slowed down to the 100 km/h speed limit.
But not for long.
“He just stopped dead in the middle of the highway — right in front of me,” Gade said.
So Gade, leery about what the driver would do next, stopped behind the emergency vehicle.
The driver’s door then opened and the man got out and started “waving” at Gade.
“But there’s really only one finger involved in the wave,” he said.
After flipping Gade off, he said the driver started pointing at him and beating on the back door of the ambulance, which Gade took as a threat.
The ambulance driver then turned around and pulled up beside the CJ Radio van and started “cussing and screaming” at Gade from the ambulance while traffic was backing up in both lanes on the highway, he recalled. All the while, Gade had dispatch on the phone.
Eventually, he was on the phone with the RCMP while an officer said they were trying to track down the driver who Gade said “had clearly gone nuts.”
A few days later, Gade pursued the news story by emailing Blaine Kraushaar of the Prairie Mountain Health communications department to find out what happened after the RCMP apparently went after the road-raged driver.
Five days after Gade’s inquiry, Kraushaar issued a statement on behalf of the health authority which said it was aware of the incident, but had no plans to do anything about it.
“Prairie Mountain Health has conducted an internal investigation into this matter. Based on this review and after following up externally with both RCMP and the MTCC (Medical Transportation Co-ordination Centre), we will not be pursuing this matter further at this time,” the email read.
After Gade continued to press for more details, Kraushaar issued another statement.
“Our investigation would have concluded that there is no evidence to proceed in investigating this matter further and that there was no disciplinary action, nor regulatory/standards action that was required following our conversations with both agencies I listed earlier.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 26, 2013