On Saturday, Mar 9, 2013, NEMT provider SCR Medical Transportation picked up Ella Mae Williams, 58, an insulin dependent diabetic who required a wheelchair, to take her to Malcom X College, where she was working toward a degree in Business Administration. Tragically, the driver of the van fell asleep while transporting Ms. Williams and hit a pole, severely damaging the van and killing her.
The driver, Ted McNabola, first claimed to have swerved to avoid hitting a dog in the street. Yet the driver’s own video shows him closing his eyes until Ms. Williams’ screams jolted him awake. The driver was convicted of speeding, negligent driving, and improper seatbelt usage. Also, his commercial driver’s license was canceled for one year.
SCR Medical Transportation was contracted to transport Ms. Williams through Pace Suburban Bus Service, a governmental program run by the state of Illinois. It is unclear what qualifications, if any, SCR was required to follow before transporting Ms. Williams. All too often driver fatigue results in death and catastrophic injuries, and the best way to avoid this is through driver training, background checks, and proper certification. It is also true that non-emergency medical transportation is a business that, by definition, is transporting medically fragile riders. The duty of care for the broker, Pace Suburban Bus Service, and the actual provider, SCR Medical Transportation, is higher than it otherwise might be. Sadly, Ms. Williams and her family placed their trust in a company who clearly failed in training, managing, and supervising driver Ted McNabola.