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Ambulance carrying injured worker crashes

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2001

An ambulance carrying a Uniontown man who fell through the roof of a Derry Township maintenance garage Thursday was involved in an accident on its way to the hospital.

Frank May, 54, was listed in fair condition at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland last night after he was flown there by medical helicopter from Latrobe Area Hospital.

According to state police, the Mutual Aid Ambulance Service ambulance that was taking May to Latrobe Area Hospital after his fall collided with a car at 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of state routes 981 and 1020 in Derry Township, near Latrobe.

Ambulance driver Gregory Onega of Latrobe was not injured. A Mutual Aid medic riding in the back with May sustained minor injuries and was treated at Latrobe Area Hospital and released.

The driver of the car, Karen McKinney of Blairsville, also was treated at the hospital for minor injuries. No information was available about a woman who Latrobe and Derry Township firefighters said was riding with McKinney.

No passengers were listed for either vehicle on a state police report.

May, who works for Lloyd Roofing of Uniontown, fell about 25 feet onto the concrete floor of the Derry Township maintenance garage along State Route 982 after one end of a 6-foot-long piece of tin roofing he was walking on gave way at about 10:40 a.m.

May's foreman, Walt Lehman of Uniontown, said May and the others on the work crew had been contracted by the township to replace the roof and were tearing out a section of the old roof when May fell.

Lehman said he and the other co-workers were all about 10 feet from May, and there was no time to grab for him.

'It just gave way,' Lehman said. 'It just happened so fast.'

Lehman said there were clearly visible rusted-out holes in the part of the roof they were tearing out, but there also were 'bad places' that they couldn't see.

Lehman and other members of the crew said May apparently broke his right leg and injured his head in the fall. He was bleeding from the nose and ear, but was still moving and talking as Onega and the Mutual Aid medic prepared to take him to the hospital.

No charges have been filed against either driver in connection with the accident.

Kristi Snyder of Derry Borough, who was driving behind the ambulance as it headed west on SR 1020 toward the intersection, said Onega had the ambulance's lights and sirens operating.

'I can't say who was coming to the intersection and who was already there, but (McKinney) had to have heard him,' Snyder said.

State police said Onega was attempting to go through a red light at the intersection when the ambulance collided with McKinney's car, which was headed south on Route 981.

Dorothy Rubino of Latrobe said she was looking at potted flowers at Murphy's Market produce stand at routes 981 and 1020 when she heard and saw Onega approach the intersection.

'I heard him coming up the road, and then I heard the collision,' Rubino said. 'I didn't see the collision. I saw him coming up the road and I thought 'Boy, he must have someone with him in the back.''

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