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Ambulance crash kills driver, patient on way to hospital

Vehicle veers into garage in Dunstable

An ambulance driver and the patient he was rushing to the hospital were killed yesterday when the vehicle veered off a road in Dunstable, just south of New Hampshire, and crashed into a barn attached to a house, police said.

A Dunstable emergency medical technician riding in the ambulance suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening .

Police said that the driver was a 21-year-old man and that the patient was 57 years old and had been on the way to Lowell General Hospital. Police did not identify the victims, pending family notification. They were declared dead at Lowell General.

Dunstable police and Dunstable EMS received a call about 2:37 p.m. for a medical emergency at 127 Pleasant St. Officers and a second Patriot ambulance arrived to treat a patient in "severe medical distress," police said.

Minutes later, at around 2:53 p.m., Dunstable police reported that the ambulance had been involved in an accident at 111 Pleasant St., yards from the original medical scene.

Early investigation by local and State Police indicated that speed did not appear to be a factor in the accident.

Earlier reports indicated that the driver might have suffered a heart attack behind the wheel, but Dunstable Police Chief James G. Downes III said last night that he could not confirm those reports.

The barn was extensively damaged. But after examination by the Dunstable building inspector, the residents were allowed to remain in the house.

Patriot Ambulance Service's communications supervisor, Kathie Bouchard, would not comment on the accident last night.