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EMT killed when ambulance crashes into tree near Henryville

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An emergency medical technician was killed Wednesday after an ambulance left the roadway and crashed into a tree near Henryville. David J. Gundle, 50, of Memphis, was pronounced dead at Scott County Hospital shortly after the wreck. Erica R. Stoffregen, 26, of Henryville, an emergency medical technician driving the ambulance, was transported to the hospital and was last listed in good condition.

At about 2:45 p.m., the Clark County Sheriff’s Department received a call from the sister of a man on Fox Road in Charlestown. She requested a welfare check because she had not heard from her brother and was concerned about him.

Maj. Chuck Adams said a police officer began en route to the home, and a dispatcher relayed to Clark County EMS that it was not emergency but to send an ambulance.

“That’s standard procedure for us when we get a situation like that in case the subject is in need of medical attention,” Adams said.

The EMTs then left from the Monroe Township Fire Department in Henryville where they are stationed. The crash occurred about two miles from Henryville at Ind. 160 and Munk Road.

“It appeared from the preliminary investigation the ambulance was heading eastbound on 160 and left the southside of the roadway and struck quite a large tree almost head on,” Adams said.

An accident reconstruction team is working to determine the speed of the ambulance at the time of the wreck. The first police officer who arrived on scene about two minutes after the crash noted the ambulance lights were on, but Adams said it was possible the driver turned on the lights after the wreck to draw the attention of responding officers.

A global positioning system installed in the vehicle should tell police whether the lights and siren were activated, Adams said.

When police arrived, Stoffregen was out of the vehicle administering treatment to Gundle.

Adams said investigators were told that Gundle was not restrained and had been ejected from the vehicle, but that has not been confirmed.

He was transported by ground ambulance to Henryville High School and then taken by Stat Flight to Scott County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:08 p.m. An autopsy will be performed today in Louisville.

Adams said Gundle is married, and he and his wife have six children combined.

Stoffregen was transported to University Hospital in Louisville and was listed in good condition. She was expected to be released after a few hours.

“She said the only thing she could remember at the time was the passenger/victim yelled, and she blacked out,” Adams said.

Stoffregen had worked for Clark County EMS between three and five years, while Gundle had been there about three years, Adams said.

Stoffregen was the passenger in an ambulance that was involved in a fatal crash in July of 2009. Opal Couch, 75, was killed when her vehicle was struck as she turned onto Lewis and Clark Parkway in Clarksville. Travis L. Herthel, 20, of Georgetown, was driving the ambulance. Police investigated but he was never charged criminally.

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