D.C. Officer Who Waited 20 Minutes for Ambulance Leaves Hospital

Tuesday, May 7, 2013  |  Updated 9:15 PM EDT
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A D.C. police motorcycle officer who waited almost 20 minutes for an ambulance after being struck by an alleged drunk driver March 5 left the hospital Tuesday, News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

Jackie Bensen

A D.C. police motorcycle officer who waited almost 20 minutes for an ambulance after being struck by an alleged drunk driver March 5 left the hospital Tuesday, News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

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A D.C. police motorcycle officer who waited almost 20 minutes for an ambulance after being struck by an alleged drunk driver March 5 left the hospital Tuesday, News4's Jackie Bensen reported.

Officer Sean Hickman flashed a thumbs up as he rolled out of the National Rehabilitation Hospital under his own power, though not on on his preferred set of wheels.

The initial call for a pedestrian down March 5 came at 6:34 p.m. A D.C. fire engine with a paramedic on board arrived at 6:42 p.m., but no D.C. ambulances were available, according to D.C. Fire & EMS records. Ten minutes later, a Prince George's County ambulance arrived, and at 7:03 p.m., that ambulance took Hickman to MedStar Washington Hospital Center with a crushed leg. 

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Thirty-nine ambulance units were on duty at the time of the accident, Deputy Mayor Paul Quander said, and some of the 10 that were out of service had legitimate reasons for not being able to respond to the call.

This was one of the delays that prompted investigations into D.C. ambulance response times.

Last month, D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe said changes were coming to D.C. Fire and EMS.

The driver of the car that hit Hickman was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, police said. It’s the third time in two years Kevin Burno, 24, has been charged with assaulting a police officer.

According to court documents, the officer signaled for Burno to turn on his lights. That's when Burno drove into the opposite lane of traffic and struck the officer, police said.

A witness told police Burno had been drinking "all day" prior to the incident, according to court documents, and police said he appeared incoherent at times and had trouble understanding officers.

At D.C. Superior Court following police processing, U.S. marshals searched Burno and found "six red zips of a green weed-like substance, and one plastic bag containing six white rock-like substances," according to court documents. They also found the key to the striking vehicle.

With the same discipline and determination that helped Hickman patrole some of D.C.'s toughest areas, he will focus on getting back on the streets and back to helping people.

Hickman has health insurance, but uncovered costs for things like special equipment are adding up, so his friends are holding two fundraisers this weekend:

  • Saturday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m., at The Bungalow Sports Grill, 7003-C Manchester Lakes Blvd., Alexandria
  • Sunday, 7 p.m.-11 p.m., at Rhino Bar and Pumphouse, 3295 M St. NW, Washington, D.C. (email hickmanfundraiser@gmail.com)

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