It was a call just after midnight that has shaken first responders across northern New York. They were called to rescue their own.
"It's like a nightmare," said Chris Trombley with Champlain EMS.
Just like he had done hundreds of times over the years for Champlain EMS, Eric Monty, 45, was driving a patient to the hospital to be treated for chest pains. Two EMTs, both unbelted, were in the back of the ambulance treating the patient. But the trip took a tragic detour on a slight curve on the Military Turnpike in Altona.
"The ambulance continued straight down the embankment and actually came back up onto the road and came back onto the roadway," N.Y. State Police Capt. Brent Gillam said.
Right after the accident, the patient who was being transported to the hospital ran across the street and pounded on the door of a home to wake up the homeowner and asked them to call 911. He was banged up and was not wearing a shirt or shoes.
"It's until something like this happens that you realize this is a risky business," Trombley said.
Monty, the driver, was dead. The patient, Gary Lamarche, 55, and one of the EMTs, Susan Roberts, 52, are in stable condition at the hospital. Roberts is Monty's sister. The other EMT, Peter Coulombe, 26, is in critical condition with a traumatic brain injury.
"We are humans like everybody else," Trombley said. "We are out helping people and sometimes we become victims, too, and that is hard to swallow."
The autopsy revealed Monty suffered a fatal heart attack behind the wheel and police say that caused the crash.
"There is no indication the ambulance was going any faster than it should have been at the time," Gillam said.
Monty will be remembered for his commitment, willing to get behind the wheel of an ambulance at any hour of the day. He leaves behind a daughter, who also just lost her mother.
"Eric was a special kind of person," Trombley said. "He had a lot struggles personally. He lost his wife to cancer a couple of years ago. I think he saw the difference EMS made through the years as EMS helped his wife."
A volunteer who lost his life doing his job saving lives.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:58 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:58:11 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
A Montgomery farmer and a sheriff's deputy joined forces for a daring rescue to help a woman who got trapped in her truck by rising floodwaters.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:09:50 GMT
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont. SheldonMore >>
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont.More >>