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Must see video: Autistic child crashes ambulance in Coventry, RI

Firefighter and motorcyclist injured in collision

The video above shows two views as a 13-year-old austistic boy took the wheel of an ambulance in Coventry Rhode Island last (Thursday) night. The first view is the security camera at Central Coventry Fire Station #7 and the second view (at 1:40 into the video) is from the motorcycle that crashed into the side of the ambulance. Just before the motorcycle and ambulance collide, you see Firefighter Scott Brown Jr. being thrown from the ambulance onto the road. There were three injuries. The boy had been taken to the firehouse for evaluation after being found wandering on a roadway.

Tony Gugliotta, WJAR-TV:

Fire and police officials in Coventry are praising the work of 24-year-old firefighter Scott Brown, Jr. after he selflessly jumped onto a moving ambulance being driven by a 13-year-old boy who has autism to try to stop it before it crossed busy Route 117.

He ran around the vehicle, tried to get into the vehicle by going through the window, tried to reach in and try to stop the vehicle but by that time, the vehicle was in gear and the accelerator was put to the floor,” Central Coventry Fire District Chief Frank Brown said of the firefighter’s actions.

The ambulance crashed into a parked police cruiser, as well as a motorcycle rider, before rolling into a ditch Thursday night.

The next day, authorities released video recorded by the motorcyclist’s camera that offers a point of view shot of the head-on collision. They also released video that shows the ambulance being driving off the road.

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Here is the press release from the Coventry Police Department:

COVENTRY, RI On 8/23/18 at 1952 hours, officers from the Coventry Police Department responded to a call involving a special needs juvenile who suffers from ADHD and Autism. Officers assisted the mother of the juvenile who was outside of her car and walking on Route 117. Our officers tried to calm the juvenile who was excited and unsettled, and eventually agreed to visit the nearby fire station to be evaluated.

CPD Officers transported the mother and son to nearby Central Coventry Fire Station #7 where they were met by fire personnel. The juvenile then unexpectedly ran into the garage bay and entered a parked ambulance. The juvenile locked the driver’s door, started the ambulance and placed the vehicle in drive. As the vehicle exited the garage bay, Firefighter Scott Brown attempted to enter the passenger side of the vehicle. The Ambulance struck a parked and unoccupied police SUV. FF Brown continued to hang on to the ambulance as it drove towards the road. FF Brown was then thrown from the ambulance and landed in the road. The ambulance crossed Route 117, and was struck by a motorcycle traveling eastbound. The juvenile, Central Coventry FF Brown, and the motorcycle operator all sustained minor injuries and were transported to the hospital for evaluation. The motorcycle operator was treated and released, and suffered a broken finger on his left hand.

As a result of this incident, both departments are evaluating our protocols and procedures. We jointly commend FF Scott Brown who risked his life to attempt to stop the ambulance, and despite being thrown from the vehicle sustaining injuries himself, he can be observed in surveillance video crawling to and subsequently rendering aid to the motorcycle operator. The Coventry Police Department Accident Reconstruction Team responded to investigate the scene. The internal surveillance footage from the fire station and footage from a helmet-mounted camera from the motorcycle operator were secured for the investigation and are made available in this release.

For all the first responders involved in this incident, it brings into acute focus the challenges that parents, caregivers, and children experience when dealing with autism and other disabilities. It also reminds us of the difficulties our officers and firefighters face when assessing and treating individuals who suffer from mental health disorders. We are grateful that this incident did not result in serious injuries or loss of life. Our thoughts today are with the mother and family of this juvenile who we are struggling with the aftermath of this incident. We commend the dedication and resiliency it requires of parents that wake daily to meet the challenges presented in caring for a child or adult with Autism. #Autismawareness #Autismspeaks

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