AUSTIN (KXAN) — An alleged drunk driver hit an ambulance responding to a medical call near the intersection of South Congress and East Riverside around 3:30 Sunday morning, said Division Chief Eric Jakubauskas.
“Nobody would expect this on a medical call on the side of a city street that somebody would go ahead and slam into them,” he said, adding that both medics went to the hospital. They will both be okay, but one of them cannot yet return to work.
One of the medics still can’t go back to work, and Jakubauskas now has an even stronger message for people about driving drunk as South by Southwest continues.
“Especially during the spring festival season, it’s important right now to know there are so many ways you can get home. We don’t want people to be out there and not enjoy themselves and not party and have fun,” he said. “But there’s so many other ways to get home. Rideshare, taxis, call a friend.”
Ricky Axel, who lives in Austin, seconds that.
“You should do that regardless if there is or isn’t people in town,” he said. “It’s common sense. Just use an Uber.”
This message also goes for electric scooters, which Lime said is double in use during South by Southwest.
“Don’t drink and ride. Park appropriately,” said Operations Manager Tufan Baytok. He said all scooters also have a new feature now called “training mode” that make the scooters go slower if you indicate you’re a new rider.
Jakubauskas said the crash may have totaled the ambulance, and it was one of the agency’s newest trucks.
He said ATCEMS will still be able to fully staff downtown for South by Southwest, but they still feel the impact of having a medic and an ambulance out of commission.
“EMS is one of the professions out there right now that’s hurting for personnel,” he said. “We’re doing aggressive recruiting and staffing, but any time we have someone who’s a clear provider on the streets and now they can’t be on the ambulance – that hurts us.”