UPDATE: Ambulance driver in deadly crash pleads guilty to traffi - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Ambulance driver in deadly crash pleads guilty to traffic violation

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ROME, GA (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The ambulance driver charged in the June 2017 death of a patient has pleaded guilty to a traffic violation in the case.

Crystin Keys, an ambulance driver for Puckett EMS was at the wheel during a crash in Rome, GA in which the patient died. 

Keys was charged with vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane in the Superior Court of Floyd County.

Keys entered a guilty plea to settle all criminal charges in the Floyd County Superior Court on Monday morning, November 6, 2017.

The case was settled with her plea to only the second count, the failure to maintain a lane.

The vehicular homicide count was dismissed, according to a news release.

Key’s attorney, McCracken Poston, said the former ambulance driver, who was five weeks pregnant at the time of the crash, had been avoiding caffeinated drinks which had helped to keep her alert during long shifts.

Poston said “Its a just resolution of the case,” and thanked the family of the late Tony Patterson for their compassion for his client during their own time of grief. 
 
“We were developing a defense based upon a possible involuntary blackout based on a medical issue,” Poston stated. “Crystin suffered from what was diagnosed as a ‘QT Interval’ episode, which involves the electrical impulses to her heart,” her attorney added, “This was going to be argued at trial as well documented reasonable doubt of her guilt, but the compassion expressed by the family of the late Tony Patterson caused both the prosecution and the defense to take a second look at the case.”
 
Patterson’s family, through their attorney, informed the District Attorney that they would be satisfied with the vehicular homicide count being dismissed.
 
Keys entered her guilty plea to the second count only, Failure to Maintain Lane, and was given a suspended sentence upon a total payment of fine and costs of $84.90, which was paid Monday morning.


PREVIOUS STORY: Warrants have been issued by Rome police for Puckett ambulance driver Crystin Keys.

Keys has been charged with second-degree homicide by vehicle and failure to maintain a single lane in the ambulance crash on June 16 that claimed the life of patient Tony Patterson.

Puckett EMS issued the following statement Tuesday:

"Puckett EMS continues to express its deepest sympathy to the family of the patient who passed away in the tragic accident, and our thoughts also are with our employees who were injured.

The EMT and paramedic involved in the accident are on medical leave and will be placed on paid leave pending the results of Puckett EMS’ internal review of the incident."

READ MORE | Recent crash victim wants change in Puckett's policy


PREVIOUS STORY:  An early morning ambulance crash claimed the life of the patient and injured the driver and a medic aboard.

"Markings on the ground and an uprooted tree show the path the ambulance took across Martha Barry Highway.

I mean, there was a lot of EMS, fire vehicles, and the only other thing that I could see, I was on the other side of the road, was an overturned ambulance," recalled Austen Trevers, who witnessed the scene moments after the crash.

The wreck happened around 4:00 Friday morning.

Police say the ambulance, owned by Puckett EMS, drifted across the turning lane, crashed into the tree, and rolled over.

I mean, it's always scary to think that just one wrong turn can kind of change the whole outcome of anyone's life," said Trevers.

The patient in the ambulance, 55-year-old Tony Patterson from Lafayette, died at the scene. The EMT treating Patterson, 29-year-old Robert Burnham from Ooltewah, was taken to Floyd Medical Center for his injuries.

Police believe the driver, 21-year-old Crystin Keys from Chattanooga, may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

"She stated she was tired. That they started work at 7pm last date," said Sgt. Danny Story with the Rome Police Department, "She was feeling tired and she doesn't remember going off the road until the ambulance started jerking."

Police said the path the ambulance took indicates exhaustion likely caused the wreck.

There's no skid marks other than the travel path of the ambulance and of course, you have destruction once it strikes the tree and it flips the ambulance," explained Sgt. Story.

No charges have been formally filed.

According to police, failure to maintain lane and second degree vehicular homicide charges could be on the table.

"Nothing was done on purpose," urged Sgt. Story, "That's why we call it an accident. Just keep the families in mind and hope that they can get through it."

Channel 3 wanted to know the route of the ambulance, why the patient was being transported, and more about the driver.

Puckett EMS was not ready to answer those questions, but the company did release a statement saying "Puckett EMS is conducting a review of the accident and is cooperating fully with local authorities."


PREVIOUS STORY: An early morning ambulance crash claimed the life of the patient and injured the driver and a medic aboard.

Police at the scene tell Channel 3 that the patient died as a result of the crash.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the Puckett EMS ambulance driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The ambulance drifted into the media, struck two trees and flipped over, injuring both the driver and the EMS medic aboard.

The patient was being transported by Puckett EMS from a Lafayette nursing home to Floyd ER for treatment.

Both the ambulance driver and the medic are said to be in stable condition.

Pucket EMS Vice President Shane Garrison issued a statement Friday afternoon, which reads:

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