Patient killed after ambulance hits tree in Duanesburg identified

DUANESBURG, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The patient killed when the ambulance he was riding in veered off the road has been identified.

Chris Aerneke, 64, has been in and out of Albany Med over the past five years for an illness. He was being taken to his home in Sloansville on Wednesday after a week of treatment when the ambulance ride turned tragic.

At around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, a Mohawk Ambulance veered off Route 20 in Duanesburg, crashing into a tree.

“We were pretty shocked at how his end came,” Chris’ sister Sharon Aitchison said.

Chris’ sister Aitchison says he needed around the clock care after battling cancer.

“He was very ill from that for about five years and had been excruciating pain and suffering badly. It was almost a relief that he would be at peace,” Aitchison said.

A picture, taken about 10 years ago, is how Sharon wants her brother to be remembered.

“He was an avid outdoors person, he loved to hunt, he loved to fish.”

She harbors no ill-will toward the ambulance driver but knowing what happened would give her closure.

“I think it is important to us as a family how this happened, yes.”

Mohawk Ambulance says an explanation is coming and released the following statement:

“On behalf of Mohawk Ambulance Service and all of our employees, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family in this very difficult time. Safety and patient care remain our top priority and we commit to holding our employees to the highest standards. We are working in full cooperation with law enforcement and together our agencies are investigating what happened surrounding this terrible event.”

Schenectady County Sheriff Domonic Dagostino saying he won’t speculate as to why the crash happened but that he’s confident an investigation will reveal the truth.

“It was really terrible to look at it, but hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of it.

The ambulance driver was treated at Ellis Hospital and has been released. The other EMT, as of Thursday afternoon, was still being treated at Albany Med.

An autopsy found that Aernecke died as a result of massive internal injuries sustained in the crash.

The crash remains under investigation.

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