UNC Helicopter Victim of Highway Hit and Run
Posted June 10, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL — A UNC helicopter responding to a rescue call became the victim of a hit and run early Sunday morning.
UNC Hospitals' Tar Heel 1, with a three-person crew, landed at the intersection of Highway 220 and 331 in Randolph County after it was called out to transport victims of an automobile accident near Asheboro.
The helicopter landed at 1:03 a.m. Three minutes later, a driver sped through aHighway Patrolbarricade and hit the helicopter's rear stabilizer fin.
Randolph County EMS, which was also on the scene, transported the automobile accident victims and flight crew to Randolph County Hospital in Asheboro. A helicopter from Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem was then dispatched to transport the victims and crew to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
The two car accident victims are Angela Robertson, 20, who is in critical condition, and Robert Hayes, 27, who is listed in fair condition at UNC Hospitals. Both are from Asheboro.
The UNC crew was not hurt.
"It was a bizarre incident," says Rene McCormick, a UNC resident nurse who was not involved in the incident. She says safety is always the number one concern of the crew. "If we're not safe we can't help anyone else," she says.
The FAA authorized the pilot to fly the helicopter to RDU International for repairs. The helicopter was ready for service by 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
Highway Patrol troopers say drivers approaching an accident or rescue scene should slow down, pay attention and do not stop to look, since doing so could cause another accident.
The driver of the vehicle has not been caught, however troopers say they have several leads and hope to make an arrest.