Two people were killed, Paramedic Zach Pruitt, 36, of Humboldt and patient Nyema Jackson, 36, of Jackson, when an ambulance crashed on Friday evening near Charlotte Pike on I-40 in Nashville. The driver of the ambulance, 55-year-old Deborah Schichtel, is reportedly from Holladay.
According to police, both victims were ejected from the back of the West Tennessee Health Care/Jackson-Madison County General Hospital ambulance, as it left the roadway while negotiating a curve and hit a rock wall.
Jackson and Pruitt died at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Schichtel sustained non life threatening injuries.
Police said the preliminary investigation states the cause of the crash as excessive speed and weather conditions. It was reported that Schichtel told investigators that she hydroplaned.
Witnesses at the scene stated the ambulance did not have its emergency lights activated at the time of the accident.
At this time, no charges have been filed.
On Saturday, James Ross, West Tennessee Health Care President and CEO, said, “Words will not express my deepest sympathies to the families of all who are impacted by this tragic event. We pray for a speedy recovery for Deborah, and we stand with all of the families and staff members as we grieve the precious loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them today, and will be in the days to come.”
Memorials were planned for Pruitt and Jackson later this week.