Ambulance responds to crash reports, vehicle empty, man later fo - WNEM TV 5

Ambulance responds to crash reports, vehicle empty, man later found dead in vehicle

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A Mid-Michigan man drove off the road, crashing into a tree. When an ambulance finally got to him, they couldn’t locate him in the vehicle and listed his crashed car as abandoned.

Balloons are tied around a battered tree, remembering Cortez Cheathams, 28.

Early on Saturday July 18, Cheathams was driving on Chevrolet Avenue on the north side of Flint. A neighbor saw his car against the tree, and promptly called 911.

“I said you gotta send someone, the car is smoking really, really bad,” said a neighbor.

An MMR ambulance was dispatched on a non-emergency basis to an accident in the City of Flint in the early morning hours on Saturday. The MMR crews responded immediately, arrived on scene and activated scene lights. The crew exited the ambulance, assessed the scene but were unable to locate the deceased. The ambulance, per protocol cleared the scene and returned to service. MMR was later summoned to the scene and the second crew with a more extensive search in the day light hours was able to locate the deceased among the wreckage of the vehicle and proceeded to make the notifications to the appropriate city and county agencies. An internal investigation into the matter is ongoing. MMR has turned over all available information to the Genesee County Medical Control Authority for further investigation, as per protocol. - Lynn Schutter, MMR Director of Community Relation

Flint Police said they weren’t able to send a car, but dispatch sent an ambulance. According to a statement from Mobile Medical Response, they were unable to locate anyone in the vehicle.

But the neighbor said that's not what she saw. 

"They just shined the lights they have on the side of the ambulance, the big lights they have up there, they shined them on the car," the neighbor said. "Guess the didn't see no one in there, and they left. They never got out of the car to see if someone was in there."

Fifteen minutes later, the neighbor called 911 again to try and get help.

It wasn’t until after a second ambulance arrived on scene did they find Cheathams dead.

“The whole dashboard was on his lap, so he couldn’t move,” the neighbor said. “He couldn’t get out of the car.”

The neighbor said had the first ambulance found Cheathams, he may still be alive.

"That was a life or death situation," the neighbor said. "That young man could have still been here today."

The neighbor said police showed up to the scene about two hours after the accident.

Funeral services will be held for Cheathams at 11 a.m. on July 31 at Rising Star Baptist Church, 502 W. Flint Park Blvd. in Flint.

His final resting place is Gracelawn Community Cemetery.

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