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June 16, 2016

Paramedic calls cyclist MCI �one of the worst calls� of his career

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Paramedics who  responded to the June 7 crash that killed five cyclists and left four injured described the scene as chaotic and overwhelming. 

“I think all of us there were kind of have some thoughts … about everything that took place that day and the kind of initial chaos,” Erik Olsen, Life EMS Ambulance field supervisor said after revisiting the scene for the first time Wednesday. “Just a lot of reflecting over the week.”

County dispatch called Life EMS directly on the day of the crash, a rare move in that jurisdiction, requesting multiple ambulance to the scene. 

“Seeing all the firefighters and stuff lining the streets, out first truck on scene, and then just seeing everybody that was on the side of the road, all the injuries, all the victims of what was going on — definitely a lot to takin all at once,” Field Supervisor Ryan Davis told WOOD-TV.

Olsen arrived shortly after Davis’ crew and assisted in coordinating crews on a scene that spanned more than 100 yards. 

“There was two people right up here, kind of the roadway,” Olsen pointed out at the scene. “There was two people that were over on the far side of the that little pavement slab that’s there. And then … everybody else was kind of along this fence line in here.”

In his 18 years as a paramedic, Olsen considered the crash among the worst calls he’s responded to.

“I would definitely say this is probably one of the worst calls that I’ve been on as far as from a mass casualty standpoint,” Olsen said. 

“Dealing with it, seeing it and kind of coming back and I guess reliving it a little bit and remembering kind of what went on, it’s saddening, but also kind of reassuring that we were able to help,” Davis said. 


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