Ambulance driver fell asleep

A report says an ambulance driver likely fell asleep before her vehicle jumped a concrete barrier and plunged into a Vancouver Island lake, killing her and a co-worker.

Two coroner's reports into the tragedy say driver Jo-Ann Fuller drowned in Kennedy Lake and paramedic Ivan Polivka (poh-LIV'-kah) died from massive trauma to his chest and head.

The accident occurred Oct. 19, 2010, at about 5:20 a.m. on Highway 4, a route the report describes as a hazardous, winding roadway linking the communities of Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino.

The report says 59-year-old Fuller and 65-year-old Polivka had been off work for just five hours, when they were paged early Oct. 19 to take a patient from Tofino to Port Alberni.

It says during the return drive Fuller was behind the wheel and Polivka was asleep on the ambulance's gurney when the vehicle drifted onto the concrete barrier and then tumbled down the 33-metre embankment into the lake.

The report says the ambulance was in excellent condition and had no defects, and tests came up negative for alcohol, prescription medications and illicit drugs.


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