Late in the evening on October 8th, Claudia Christmas raced her 66-year-old husband, Stanley Christmas, to the hospital as he was having a heart attack. On the way, they were stopped by police for going 56 mph in a 35 mph zone. Mrs. Christmas frantically told officers that her husband was having a medical emergency, however they did not let her proceed.
The officers informed her that an ambulance was on the way and that she could not continue the drive, despite the hospital being less than 10 minutes away. “I did acknowledge that and I said we were having a medical emergency,” said Mrs. Christmas.
According to St. Clair Shores Deputy Chief Steve Lambert, “the problem with that is if a driver is going to continue to drive at that rate, she’s putting herself, as well as her passenger and the public, in danger of her erratic driving.” Lambert said that in the case of a medical emergency, the best thing to do is to call 911 and have an ambulance respond to the scene.
During the stop, the officers asked if Stanley had a history of heart attacks. He told the officer he didn’t have time for his “stupid questions”. His daughter Ashley also took issue with the way the stop was handled. “Checking their license and coming back and asking them where they worked wasn’t relevant to the fact that there was a medical emergency transpiring right in front of their faces,” said Ashley.
Mr. Christmas later arrived by ambulance at Beaumont Hospital in Michigan and was taken into surgery. He is reportedly in recovery.
There is no law that justifies speeding for emergencies. If you have been pulled over and you say you are headed to the hospital, the officer has discretion to choose a course of action, which can include calling an ambulance for you and/or ticketing you for speeding or other offenses. In this case, Lambert said a ticket was not issued.