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First responders injured in crash on I-5 while responding to another

Two first responders and two civilians were transported to a local hospital Sunday after a vehicle struck an ambulance on Interstate 5 one half-mile south of exit 27, Medford police reported Monday.

An Oregon State Police trooper responded to a single vehicle rollover crash in the northbound lanes around 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Mercy Flights, Ashland Fire & Rescue and Jackson County Fire District 5 crews provided medical attention at the scene for two trapped occupants of the single vehicle crash.

A vehicle uninvolved in the original crash struck the ambulance on scene around 11 p.m., injuring a Mercy Flights paramedic, an Ashland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief and a patient from the initial crash en route to the ambulance.

One vehicle was speeding into the emergency zone, slowed quickly and was struck by another vehicle from behind, sending the collision toward emergency personnel, according to Chris Chambers with AFR.

The two first responders and two occupants of the original crash were transported to the hospital. Injuries were reported as “non-life-threatening.”

The battalion chief and paramedic were released from the hospital Sunday night with minor injuries.

Mercy Flights posted on social media Monday, “everyone has been treated and is currently recovering.”

The Jackson County Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction team was called to assist OSP with the investigation, “due to the nature of the crash and limited resources.”

The STAR team includes Medford police, the Jackson County Sheriff’s office, Ashland police and Jackson County District Attorney’s office.

Staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Phoenix police assisted in closing the interstate after the second crash.

“Our first responders wear reflective vests so they are highly visible,” said Mercy Flights CEO Sheila Clough, reminding citizens to slow down near roadway accidents and fulfill their role in keeping first responders safe.

An initial investigation indicates neither driver involved in the second crash was impaired and high speed contributed to the accident. The case remains under investigation and no criminal charges have been filed.

“What could have been a tragedy was miraculously avoided last night,” said Ashland Fire Chief Ralph Sartain. “I want to make sure everyone out there knows how important it is to slow down for emergency workers on roadways, particularly at night.”