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Ambulance driver booked for running red light in emergency.

The driver of an ambulance carrying an infant suffering a possible medical emergency faces prosecution for ignoring traffic lights after the vehicle and an SUV collided.

The incident happened about 2 a.m. on January 1 at an intersection south of Olympic Bridge in Songpa-gu, Seoul. The ambulance, with its siren sounding, was coming from North Chungcheong Province and heading to Seoul Asan Hospital. It was also carrying the three-month-old child's parents and a nurse. The infant was in a critical condition with fluid on the lungs.

The ambulance ran a red light before the collision with the SUV. Police said the SUV driver's blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent, enough for license revocation. No one was seriously injured in the crash.

Songpa police booked both drivers without arrest a the ambulance driver for ignoring the traffic light and the SUV driver for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The ambulance driver's charge raised questions over the legitimacy of prosecuting him for ignoring traffic lights in an emergency.

The police traffic investigation department said it remains to be seen whether the ambulance driver can be prosecuted and, if so, how serious the punishment will be.

"The determination depends on various elements such as the traffic condition, the level of emergency of the situation and the alarm level of the ambulance siren," department investigator Song Soo-hyun told The Korea Times.

Song emphasized the importance of the emergency's seriousness.

"If the situation was not urgent and so didn't require the driver to run the red light and he did so, then he cannot dodge prosecution," Song said. "We will see if the baby was actually in a critical condition. Once the emergency level is confirmed, the driver can avoid being prosecuted."

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Date:Jan 3, 2018
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