Officer's long wait for DC ambulance under investigation - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Officer's long wait for DC ambulance under investigation

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There is new information in the hit-and-run collision that critically injured a D.C. police officer.

A court affidavit says the man behind the wheel apparently hit the officer on purpose after the officer noticed the driver was operating the vehicle without lights.

24-year-old Kevin Burno is now facing a charge of aggravated assault while armed.

But it's what happened after the collision that is now the subject of an ongoing investigation involving D.C. Fire and EMS.

The Sixth District officer, who has now been identified as Sean Hickman, broke his pelvis and one of his legs and was on the ground waiting for help for as long as eight minutes before paramedics on an engine arrived to render first aid.

The officer then waited at least 15 minutes more for an ambulance that had to come from Prince George's County because there were no ambulances available in the District.

The long wait for an ambulance is now the subject of an investigation by the deputy mayor for public safety who says some of the ambulance crews on duty that night may have left the streets before the end of their shift.

"We had 10 medical units that were not available for service and I need to know why," said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander. "Some of them were on runs, some were in for cleanup after you do a run, but I'm also looking to see if some went out of service inappropriately without authorization. They may have left their shift before it was over, but these are some of the things we have to sort out."

Officer Hickman was riding a scooter when he was hit in the intersection of 46th and A Streets in Southeast D.C.

The long wait for medical help has infuriated the police union, which is now pointing fingers at the fire chief.

"Here in the nation's capital that we would not have an ambulance available is inexcusable and who's to blame? The Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe is to blame," said Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Kristopher Baumann. "This is his department and this is not the first time we have seen mismanagement with story after story of how he has been unable to make this a working department."

Chief Ellerbe declined a request for an interview and said all questions would be answered by the deputy mayor.

"We had paramedics that arrived within eight minutes, which is well within the standard that we want," said Deputy Mayor Quander. "What I also said is that the review will take a look at everything to see if we can improve, whether there was any impact to the officer's care."

On Thursday afternoon, FOX 5 asked D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray if he is concerned with the current state of emergency medical care in the city.

"With respect to the current situation, I've asked Paul Quander to take a look at it and he will have information and anything that will be broader than that, so let's wait and see what he comes up with," said Gray.

When asked if he still had confidence in the fire chief, the mayor replied "yes."

Law enforcement sources say Burno is the brother of a man who shot a D.C. police officer in 1995 and is serving life in prison.

The two passengers in the car, Darrin Twisdale and James Parks, were both wanted for and have now been charged with first-degree sexual abuse.

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