Pregnant woman waits over one hour for an ambulance in Richmond following crash


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A pregnant woman involved in a car accident Saturday waited over one hour for an ambulance. The incident has shined a light on the shortage of Richmond Ambulance Authority drivers.

Latanya Thornton was involved in a car crash at the intersection of Bells Road and Richmond Highway near Phillip Morris in South Richmond on Saturday, June 12. The Richmond Fire Department arrived on the scene, but Thornton said it was more than one hour before an ambulance arrived.

“I’m a taxpayer who never realized that I’m paying taxes for things that don’t matter,” she told 8News. “Something has to be done.”

Thornton said another vehicle ran a red light and hit her car. She had her 1-year-old and 5-year-old children inside.

Shannon Ronaldson, who was passing by the scene of the crash, rushed to help Thornton.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s pregnant.’ So I stopped the car and ran across without even looking,” Ronaldson told 8News.

As they were waiting, Ronaldson started broadcasting the situation on Facebook Live.

“I had her boyfriend help guide her down and lay on me because she kept saying her neck was hurting and that’s all I was worried about is her neck hurting and she’s pregnant,” Ronaldson explained.

“Everything was hurting thank God Shannon was there because she definitely helped coach me to stay steady,” Thornton said.

While Thornton said she has head, neck and back injuries from the crash, she successfully gave birth to a healthy baby girl Tuesday, June 15.

Thornton said she was 37 weeks along, due to give birth on July 4, but she was told Monday that her fluid was very low and she needed to deliver the baby. According to Thornton, everything looked normal at her appointment last Thursday, but doctors did not tell her if this change was due to the accident.

Mark Tenia of the RAA said at the time of the crash, all other manned ambulances were at or on the way to a hospital or on the scene of another call. Tenia said they are short staffed and have just half of the emergency drivers needed.

“We were well aware of the information,” he said.

He told 8News due to HIPAA laws he couldn’t comment on the specifics of this incident.

The goal of the Richmond Ambulance Authority is to respond to a Priority 1 call in less than nine minutes. A Priority 1 call is life-threatening.

Jim Nolan, a spokesperson from the Mayor’s Office, sent 8News the following statement:

This should not have happened. We’re very concerned whenever a person in need of medical transport to the hospital  does not receive it in a timely fashion. We’re thankful our fire and police departments were on the scene within minutes to render first aid and medical assistance until RAA arrived.  Our first responding agencies will be meeting with RAA to determine what happened in this situation.

Jim Nolan, spokesperson from Mayor Levar Stoney’s office

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