Update: Includes more details about Medic 55's involvement
Charges are pending against a Reading Center man and two bystanders are being treated for injuries following a Jan. 17 accident on State Route 14, according to Watkins Glen Village Police.
David Dowdle, chief paramedic from Penn Yan's Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital played an important role in helping to end the car chase that ended in the accident.
Police said charges are pending against Jazmany Caraballo, 37, of Reading Center, after he allegedly led police on a car chase throughout and around Watkins Glen, before allegedly smashing into a vehicle that had pulled over to make way for emergency personnel. Caraballo is also being treated for injuries.
Police said they were dispatched to an assault complaint at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Police said the suspect in the complaint left the scene in a vehicle.
Police subsequently issued an all-points bulletin on the vehicle.
Dowdle was traveling south on State Rte. 14, heading to a medical call in Starkey when he heard the Yates County 911 dispatcher announce the BOLO (be on the lookout) information about the vehicle. With his own emergency lights and siren on, Dowdle first passed a truck that had pulled over, and then came upon a gray van which would not pull over.
After asking the dispatcher to repeat the license plate number, Dowdle confirmed that he was following the vehicle, which was rapidly pulling away. "It's not uncommon for people to not pull over, but he was pulling away," says Dowdle, who did not try to keep up with the van, but he maintained visual contact, reporting their location to dispatch before he had to turn off the highway for his medical call.
"I think he (Caraballo) was trying to figure out what I was," he adds, explaining he doesn't actively look for vehicles that law enforcement is looking for, but he likes to be aware of what's going on around him.
Even though he knew Watkins Glen Police called Caraballo armed and dangerous, Dowdle wasn't concerned about his own safety. "Once I realized he wasn't going to pull over, the closest I got was close enough to read the license plate," he says.
New York State Troopers and Yates County Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle but the suspect did not stop, and a car chase ensued, reaching speeds near 100 mph, according to reports from radio transmissions during the pursuit.
Watkins Glen Police said they positioned themselves at the north village line and tried to block the road, but the suspect swerved onto the sidewalk and smashed into a vehicle that had pulled over for flashing emergency lights and sirens.
Both vehicles suffered heavy damage. The driver and passenger of the bystander vehicle were transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. via ambulance.
Police said they took Caraballo into custody and he is being treated for injuries at a local hospital.
Police have not released any additional details at this time.
Watkins Glen Village Police were assisted in the vehicle pursuit and at the accident scene by New York State Police, the Yates County and Schuyler County Sheriff’s Departments, the Watkins Glen Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance and the New York State Department of Transportation.