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Man, 72, dies following pedestrian accident, second vehicle crash

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 7:59 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau Police Department has identified a man that died Wednesday night as Peter MaComber, 72.

MaComber was struck by a vehicle while on Grand Avenue in Schofield around 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. As a result of the crash, the pedestrian was transported from the scene by Riverside Ambulance.

The ambulance was heading to a local hospital. While en route on Scott Street in N. 1st Street in Wausau a second crash involving the ambulance occurred. The patient later died.

Investigators are still trying to figure out if MaComber died from the crash on Grand Avenue, or if he did from the ambulance crash.

Wausau Police Chief, Ben Bliven, said the ambulance driver did not slow down before crashing with a car that was headed north. “If you have your emergency lights and siren active, you can go through a red light.”

But the next thing Bliven said, is what the ambulance driver did not do. “You have to slow enough to make sure it’s safe to go through the red light, and we didn’t believe that happened here and that was the reason for the citation.”

The first crash in Schofield was reported at 6:08 p.m. The second crash occurred at 6:29 p.m.

According to a state statute, first responders have to follow the same rules of the road we all have to.

“We hold our emergency drivers to the same standard we would hold our citizen drivers to, you know if there’s a violation of the road then we would issue a citation,” Bliven explained.

Bliven also mentioned that witnesses and evidence show that it’s clear the driver did not do that. “They crashed so that is inherently evident that it was unsafe.”

Multiple injuries among the other occupants of the ambulance and the passenger vehicle were reported, none of them life-threatening.

According to the Department of Transportation, there have been more than 250 ambulance crashes in the last five years. Of those, 32 people were injured and one was fatal in 2018.

“Sometimes law enforcement, or ambulance, or fire personnel are involved in crashes and we always investigate those,” Bliven said.

Although they do happen, Bliven said crashes involving first responders are rare.

NewsChannel 7 did reach out to the Riverside Fire District for comment, but they declined.

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