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.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:10:32 GMT
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help. Lincoln will get more than $4.5 million for a bridge repair from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA also awarded Lebanon more than $3More >>
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:58 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:06 GMT
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro. The film is called "The Address". It follows the 50 boys at the Greenwood School in Putney who have learningMore >>
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:03:58 GMT
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself. Claremont police tell us that the man was cleaning his gun Saturday night when it went off. He was taken to the hospitalMore >>
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:59:53 GMT
This towering ice fortress is dazzling visitors to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. "Yeah, this is a wow moment," says visitor Millie Gabriel. "It's an incredible feeling to see people really light upMore >>
If you're ready to see one more beautiful thing before we say hello to spring, then we've found the spot for you.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:53:41 GMT
When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag. "I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property,"More >>
The Community Maple program has been going for three years now, allowing people to take the sap from their backyard and learn how to turn it into syrup.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:44:12 GMT
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March! PANCAKE BREAKFAST This year is the 20th annual Franklin Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast at the Franklin Central School. They serve more than 2,000More >>
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March!More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>