A 7-year-old boy from Ball Ground was seriously injured Wednesday about 1 p.m., after crashing head-on into a tree while sledding in his family’s yard, said Tim Cavender, spokesman for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services.
“EMTs reported that the injuries resulted in the boy having a skull fractural and an epidural brain bleed,” Cavender said.
The boy, whose name was not released, was transported to Northside Hospital-Cherokee in serious condition, and was later transferred to Egleston Hospital, Cavender said.
Another young boy was injured in a sledding accident and is in stable condition, Cavender said, but his trip to the hospital came with its own challenge.
The 4-year-old boy complaining of back pain from sledding was being transported to an area hospital by ambulance and escorted by a National Guard Humvee on Wednesday at about 1:30 p.m., Cavender said.
Despite being escorted by a National Guard Humvee, the ambulance ran into trouble on the way.
“A Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services ambulance that was transporting a patient was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Highway 5 and East Cherokee Drive, just north of Woodstock,” Cavender said.
The ambulance got a green light to make a left turn on Highway 5 from the Publix parking lot at East Cherokee Drive, said Cherokee County EMS Chief Danny West.
But before the ambulance cleared the intersection, a black Scion TC driven by 20-year-old Lorenzo Fabio Gatti, from Marietta, lost control and hit the side of the emergency vehicle, authorities said.
Cavender said the driver of the Scion was “traveling at a substantial rate of speed and could not stop for the red light.”
“The driver lost control and hit the side of the ambulance, glancing off and hitting head-on into a National Guard Humvee that was escorting the ambulance to the hospital,” Cavender said. “The driver stated that they wanted to see what it was like out on the roads.”
According to the Georgia State Patrol, the Scion tried to stop for the red light, then slid across the turn lane and hit the other vehicles.
Cavender said the ambulance was delayed for just five minutes and only had minor damage.
“The car hit the Humvee head-on and I believe it had more damage than the ambulance,” he said. “The driver of the ambulance, EMT Danyell Chalk, said the occupants of all the vehicles were not injured and the 4-year-old male patient was eventually taken to the hospital,” Cavender said.
Cavender said parents should make sure areas are safe for children, before allowing them to go sledding.
“Parents need to be sure to select a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom for you to glide to a stop. Avoid hillsides that end near a street or parking lot and avoid hillsides that end near ponds, trees, fences or other hazards,” Cavender said. “Plus, make sure the hill is free of obstacles such as jumps, bumps, rocks, or trees before you begin sledding.”
Cavender said the accident is under investigation by the Georgia State Patrol.