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Ambulance driver cited in Mason City accident

Ambulance driver cited in Mason City accident

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MASON CITY — A Mason City Fire Department ambulance driver has been cited after a collision with a sports utility vehicle on Sunday.

Five people suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Schuyler Townsend, 26, of Mason City, was ticketed for failure of caution of an emergency vehicle.

Townsend, and fellow firefighters Shannon Furst, 35, and Peter Bieber, 40, were northbound on South Federal Avenue when a Chevrolet Tahoe broadsided the ambulance in the intersection.

The Tahoe driven by Steven Bombella, 42, Mason City, was traveling eastbound on Sixth Street Southwest.

His son, Nico, 16, a passenger in the SUV, received minor injuries and was treated and released from Mercy.

Bombella told police he didn’t see the ambulance until it was too late.

The patient in the ambulance, Donald Wohlford, 64, of Hampton, and the three firefighters were all treated and released at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. Wawohlford was transferred to another ambulance at the scene to be taken to Mercy.

According to Mason City Police, the ambulance approached the intersection while the light was red, slowed to 5 mph and then continued on through the red light.

Ambulances are required to slow down and not enter the intersection until it is safe to do so, said Lt. Ron VandeWeerd.

VandeWeerd said the accident happened just as a cloudburst occurred, and may have muffled the sound of sirens and limited visibility. Fire Chief Bob Platts said Townsend believed he had control of the intersection before entering it.

“I don’t feel that anyone  in this situation acted recklessly,” said VandeWeerd.

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