A Lompoc pickup truck driver who was seriously injured in a collision with an ambulance on Highway 1 near Vandenberg Village on November 29, 2008 has been identified as William Purgason, 53. According to this news report in the Lompoc Record, the 11/29/08 crash occurred when the American Medical Response ambulance was transporting a patient for a non-emergency situation.
Purgason was southbound on Highway 1 in a Chevy Silverado truck traveling about the speed limit when he waved at a driver next to him. California Highway Patrol officials said that around that time, Purgason’s truck drifted off to the left side of the road into the center median. When Purgason overcorrected the steering wheel, the truck veered onto the northbound side of Highway 1 and struck the ambulance.
The impact of the collision caused the ambulance to roll over and land on its roof. The ambulance driver, 20-year-old Kevin Ford, suffered minor injuries. The patient being transported, Angel Uzueta, 19, complained of neck pain after the accident. And Purgason’s passenger, 62-year-old Xuan Gordon of Lompoc, was not injured.
It is indeed fortunate that there were no fatalities in this terrible auto collision. I wish Purgason and the other injured victims the best for a speedy recovery.
It’d be interesting to find out how and why this accident occurred. CHP’s initial report that Purgason lost control of his vehicle while waving to a friend on the highway seems a little unlikely although it could be accurate. Purgason should probably have the Chevy Silverado thoroughly checked for a product defect or a mechanical malfunction. It seems to me that something could have gone terribly wrong with the vehicle as Purgason tried to overcorrect after slightly drifting off. However, this incident is also an important reminder to all of us to keep our eyes and our focus on the road while driving.
The ambulance driver was on the job at the time of the accident. He will most likely be compensated by his employer, American Medical Response, for injuries suffered during this accident. It would be in all the injured victims’ best interest to at least consult with a California auto accident attorney, who will advise them about their rights and legal options.