It was unknown how fast the ambulance was traveling when the crash occurred.
The tragedy reminded emergency responders of a fatal ambulance crash that happened on Route 11 in the Town of Mooers in March 1999, when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which was owned by private transport firm Seaway Valley. Massena Memorial Hospital nurse Laura Lee Norris was killed when she was thrown from the vehicle.
That ambulance, Trombley recalled, “more or less disintegrated” because the construction was so flimsy.
The accident provided a lesson, he said, that Champlain EMS has never forgotten when drawing up the specifications for new ambulances, to make them as safe as possible for those who ride in them.
Monty was a member of the Mooers Volunteer Fire Department. His wife, Norma Jean Monty, died in October 2010. He leaves a teenage daughter, McKayla A. Monty.
“He was a real good man, a good father,” Mooers Town Supervisor Cory Ross said Tuesday morning, about an hour after learning of the accident.
Ross had known him for years.
“It’s just a major loss to our town.”
Trombley had also known Eric for a long time — more than 15 years.
The ambulance driver, he said, was a “hardworking, honest, sincere and very dedicated person.”
And since starting with Champlain EMS about two years ago, he had given “110 percent” to his work, Trombley said.
It’s difficult for emergency personnel to lose fellow members, to see them in need of medical care.
“We never think of ourselves as patients.”
The sense of loss spans two communities whose emergency responders work closely together, he said.
A tragic accident such as this gives cause for reflection, Trombley said.
“It just makes you stop for a minute and really take a breath and look.”