March 27--MULLICA TOWNSHIP -- Officials are searching for the driver of a black sports utility vehicle who is allegedly responsible for sending an ambulance careening into a tree and telephone pole off Route 30 early this morning.
Passenger Richard Cerzosimo, 36, of the Landisville section of Buena, was flown to AtlantiCare's City Campus in Atlantic City for treatment of arm and chest injuries after firefighters freed him from the wreckage near Burdick Avenue in the Elwood section of Mullica Township, according to a police statement released this afternoon.
Rescue workers took a half-hour to extricate Cerzosimo, who was in good condition this afternoon after undergoing surgery that put pins in his arm, Mullica Police Capt. John Thompson said.
The extrication took so long due, in part, to a structural wall behind the passenger's seat. Unique to ambulances, the wall often limits rescue worker access to the passenger's side door, which was smashed against the tree in this case, Thompson said.
Doctors treated the ambulance's driver, Thomas Ivens Jr., 39, of West Wildwood, for minor injuries and quickly released him from AtlantiCare's City Campus, Thompson said.
Ivens told officials that he ran off the road when he swerved to avoid hitting a black SUV that had pulled out in front of the ambulance just before 1:52 a.m. The SUV then sped off, heading west on Route 30, according to the Mullica police.
The ambulance was not carrying patients when it crashed. Mullica police and firefighters from Elwood, Nesco and Hammonton spent nearly three hours tending to the crash victims, both AtlantiCare employees, and clearing the crash site that shut down the four-lane highway near Burdick Avenue in the Elwood section of Mullica, according to the Elwood company's website.
Investigators ask that anyone with information about the incident call Mullica police at 609-561-7600 or 609-965-1200.