Investigators are viewing surveillance videos and awaiting blood test results before deciding whether to charge a 21-year-old Florida woman for the Saturday morning crash that killed two EMS crew members in downtown Indianapolis.
Visitation was held for Tim McCormick, 24, an EMT, at Crown Hill Cemetery. His partner, Paramedic Cody Medley, 22, also died of injuries sustained in the crash.
Jade Hammer told police she was driving home at 3:37 a.m. Saturday, when her car collided with the ambulance, which was traveling southbound on Senate Avenue.
Hammer said she was focused on her audio GPS unit in her car as she was westbound on St. Clair Street.
IMPD reports Hammer ran a flashing red light and struck the ambulance broadside.
“I saw a white female standing near the ambulance. The female was crying and holding her arms around her chest. She stated, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe I was in this accident,'” wrote IMPD Officer Michael McCalip. “I noticed a smell of alcoholic beverage about her breath.”
Hammer, who recently moved to Indianapolis and works at a downtown restaurant, told police she was served two weak drinks at the Pearl Street bar before the crash.
“She consumed one and one half of these drinks and they were light,” read the police report.
Hammer was read her rights and agreed to a blood draw at Wishard Memorial Hospital two hours after the crash.
“The law says they have up to three hours but obviously the longer it takes, the less reliable that is as an indicator of what the levels were when she drove,” said DUI attorney John Tompkins. “She could’ve been higher or lower when she drove.”
Hammer was not arrested Saturday morning, indicating that perhaps her blood alcohol level did not reach .08 percent to result in a drunk driving charge. However, Tompkins said she could still face driving while intoxicated charges.
“It can either be alcohol or a controlled substance or drugs or a mixture of any of those three together.”
Preliminary test results could be available to prosecutors Tuesday.
“The results of those tests are going to be a clear indicator of what they choose to go forward on.”
Surveillance cameras perched on the roof of the IU Education and Research Institute were pointed at the intersection of Senate Avenue and St. Clair Street, site of the crash, and farther down the block where the ambulance came to rest in the rear of a parked Ford Explorer.
Gary Thompson of REI, manager of the building, told Fox59 News that his staff provided investigators with video images of the intersection captured by those cameras.
Tompkins said the speed of the ambulance, not just the blood alcohol tests, would be key in determining what criminal charges Hammer could face.
If the ambulance was speeding beyond the 30 mph speed limit on Senate Avenue, Tompkins said Hammer can argue that her collision would have merely spun out the emergency vehicle but its excessive speed, combined with the rear left wheel of the ambulance gaining traction as it drove over the hood of Hammer’s car, could have create more momentum to propel the ambulance partway down the black and into the parked SUV.
It was that secondary collision that caused the fatal injuries to McCormick and Medley.
Mayor Greg Ballard has postponed his State of the City address, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday. He will deliver the speech on March 8.
Gov. Mike Pence has ordered flags to fly at half-staff in memory of the crew.
One of those flags flies from a building top just north of the accident scene as friends and comrades continue to visit a memorial at the spot where the sliding ambulance came to a rest.