Prosecutor explains decision not to charge driver in fatal ambulance crash

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A 21-year-old Florida woman will not face criminal charges for the February 16th crash that killed two members of an Indianapolis EMS crew.

Cody Medley and Tim McCormick died when the ambulance McCormick was driving was struck broadside by a car driven by IUPUI student Jade Hammer at 3:37 a.m. at the intersection of St. Clair Street and Senate Avenue downtown.

The collision sent the ambulance into a slide that came to an abrupt halt one third of the way down the block into vehicles parked along southbound Senate Avenue.

“It all begins with nothing more than running a red light,” said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry. “That is not criminal recklessness under Indiana law.”

Neither is it drunk driving, said Curry, even though Hammer admitted having a couple drinks at a downtown bar before running the red light.

“The blood alcohol results were at .038 percent,” said Curry. “The legal threshold, as you know, is .08 percent, so, her blood alcohol wasn’t even half way to the threshold.”

Investigators said Hammer was shocked and remorseful at the scene. She cooperated by giving statements and submitting to a blood draw at Wishard Memorial Hospital.

“(She was) acknowledging that she had consumed some alcohol prior to the accident and that she was trying to follow a GPS on her phone,” said Curry, paraphrasing Hammer’s statement to police. “Otherwise she was completely distraught and appropriate in her responses.”

After the crash, Hammer returned to her Florida home.

The coed had been a student at IUPUI since the first of the year.

“She is incredibly relieved that a thorough investigation was completed and the prosecutor believed that this was the only appropriate way to go forward,” said John Tompkins, Hammer’s defense attorney. “She ran a red light and that was her contribution to these tragic events.”

Hammer faces a traffic citation.

“Anyone involved in a fatal accident endures a deep emotional impact,” said Tompkins, “They have to live with that incident for the rest of their lives.

“Indianapolis does not hold great memories for her at this point. She’s got a loving family in Florida. She’s going to stay there.”

After the prosecutor’s decision was announced, Indianapolis EMS Director Dr. Charles Miramonti issued a statement that read, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to not only the families and loved ones of our beloved Tim and Cody, but also to Jade Hammer and her family.”

Curry said investigators determined both drivers were exceeding the 30 mile-per-hour speed limits on the intersecting streets.

“The accident reconstruction showed that her vehicle was going between 35 to 40 miles per hour. The ambulance was going 45 to 50 miles per hour.”

The prosecutor said the excessive speed of the ambulance would have been a complicating factor in determining whether it was the initial impact at St. Clair and Senate or the collision with the parked vehicle 200 feet south killed the ambulance crew.

“Certainly it continued to go forward and cooling with vehicles down the street clearly would have been a function of the speed of the ambulance,” he said.

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