Officials: Ambulance Corps volunteer crashed rig when he went to get cigarettes

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:43

Corps still has two ambulances to respond to emergencies, By Claudia Wysocki MONROE - The message the Monroe Volunteer Ambulance Corps wants to get out concerning Monday’s night’s accident in which one of its rigs was totalled is that they are so glad that no one was hurt. “This is the first time in my memory that anything like this has ever happened,” Ambulance Corps President Nancy Pfeifer said in an interview Wednesday. While there is no immediate estimate on what it might cost to replace the rig, the Ambulance Corps spent $124,000 in 2004 to purchased its most recent ambulance. The incident began early Monday morning, according to Monroe Village Police. Police received a report at 12:55 a.m. that a vehicle had crashed deep in a field off Route l7M opposite the Monroe Ambulance Corps building. Det. James Frankild said officers found the driver, Paul Casson, 30, of Cedar Avenue in the Bronx, lethargic. He had difficulty speaking and could not answer simple questions, Frankild said. Casson, a former resident of Monroe and corps member for 12 years, stayed weekends, once a month, at the corps building and volunteered his service during that time. The detective added that Casson was not on duty that evening nor was he responding to or returning from any sort of medical call. Casson told police he had been sleeping at the ambulance bay and taken the medication Ambien. He was not injured in the accident in which the ambulance rolled over. Pfeifer, the corps president, said Casson has been suspended as a volunteer. She added that when she spoke with Casson on Tuesday he told her he took the ambulance out to get a pack of cigarettes. Frankild said Casson has been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving while ability impaired (by medication). The corp is now down to two ambulances and one fly-car. Mutual Aid steps in if Monroe needs an additional rig and Mobile Life is on duty during the day. Pfeifer said the Ambulance Corps’ executive board will meet in the near future to discuss whether new rules are needed regarding access to the rigs. Monroe Town Supervisor Sandy Leonard reserved comment. She said she trusts the people running the ambulance corps and called the accident “a set of circumstances. I want to wait until the whole thing is resolved and where we are before I comment on the situation.“