Drunk Detroit paramedic sideswipes 3 cars in ambulance carrying patient, DFD says

The Detroit Fire Department has suspended a paramedic for being drunk while transporting a patient in the back of an ambulance.

DFD announced the unpaid suspension of the paramedic – who sideswiped three cars in Hamtramck, near Carpenter and Klinger, around 1 a.m. on Friday. 

The driver stopped and waited for Hamtramck police to arrive. No injuries were reported.

"The vast majority of the people that don’t engage in that type of conduct, it puts a stain or a black eye on them and on the department," said DFD Chief of Staff David Levalley. "This is an incident that is not systemic throughout the department."

The driver was taken to the hospital for alcohol testing, which is fire department protocol, where authorities said it was confirmed that he was under the influence. 

The son of the women being transported, Shorif, said his mom was having a hard time breathing; he was in the ambulance when the crash took place.

"We don’t know they’re drunk, and they act like they are normal," Shorif said.

This came after a drunk DDOT driver was arrested last month for hitting mailboxes while on the job. He pulled into the parking lot of a Troy fire station with flat tires.


Drunk driver arrested after hitting mailboxes, pulling into Troy fire station parking lot with flat tires

A drunk driver was arrested last month after he pulled into the parking lot of a Troy fire station with flat tires last week.

The fire department said the driver had no prior crashes or alcohol-related incidents in his six years with the department. He's been placed on unpaid leave, pending further review.

"This is definitely a serious offense," Levalley said. "This could be anything up to termination from the department."

The DFD has numerous programs to help employees struggling with alcohol, according to the department.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for the use of alcohol while on duty and will take the appropriate action," said DFD Commissioner Chuck Simms. "We have an outstanding team of EMTs and paramedics at DFD and it's unfortunate that this incident detracts from the lifesaving work they do every day. We have programs and supportive services in place for our employees who may be struggling with issues such as alcohol dependency and we will redouble our efforts to make sure any employee who may need them are aware of how to access them."