ITHACA, N.Y. — A white SUV drove straight into the corner of Bangs’ Ambulance’s office and dispatch building on Tuesday.

“It shook the whole building,” said Meghan Bangs, Human Resource Manager and EMT for her family’s business. 

As one would expect, the response time was in seconds flat from Bangs, which keeps an ambulance at the ready at the offices located within the 200 block on Green Street. 

Ithaca firefighters responded in moments from their headquarters just down the road, and the Ithaca Police were there soon after.

“Nobody was injured. So it could have been a lot worse,” added Meghan.

And, at the time, it appears there were also no witnesses to the event. There doesn’t seem to be any major structural damage to the building, but the porch is in need of serious repair. Support pillars were torn from the corner of the porch, as well more than a quarter length of the surrounding railing.

Meghan, and Tim Bangs — owner and president of Bangs Ambulance Company — told The Ithaca Voice that the driver spoke with Ithaca Police and said that a car had stopped short in front of them on Green Street. The driver said they had gone to jam the brakes, but their foot lodged between their car pedals, only activating the gas and accelerating the car forward. 

To avoid hitting the car in front of them, they attempted a tight turn into the Bangs office driveway, but crashed their SUV into the corner of the porch instead.

The driver of the car that had supposedly stopped short drove away.

“Ten or fifteen years ago, the [driver] probably would have died, you know, but now these vehicles are so safe the way that they’re built,” said Tim. 

At the time of the accident, Tim and Meghan said they were in a zoom meeting with colleagues from Cayuga Medical Center (CMC), trying to explore a protocol for patients that experience a “gray area of trauma.”

Tim said that the safety improvements on vehicles — overwhelmingly a good thing — have, in part, motivated the need to update patient assessment protocols. The protocols weren’t developed to grade the less obvious traumas a driver or passenger may be left with after an accident from, for example, the impact of an air-bag.

“So we’re talking about that. I hear this bang crash, you know, and I go down stairs, and there’s this vehicle with this intrusion into this building, ironically — like, Oh my God! […] That patient is going to have to go to a trauma center,” said Tim.

But Tim and Meghan said that the driver got out of the car and was highly cooperative and apologetic. He seemed “conscious” and “alert,” but fit the scenario for that “gray area of trauma” perfectly.  

“We were just talking about that whole topic and here, it happens right in front of our building,” said Tim.

The coincidence is remarkable but the odd timings don’t stop there. 

Tim drives the same make and model car as the white SUV that crashed into the Bang’s office building. He also had just been washing down the porch prior to the accident, getting ready to take advantage of the day’s fair weather with a barbeque for staff to enjoy, which would have taken place just after the meeting with CMC.

And, just another thing to boot, Tim shared that a building inspector from the city said that the sidewalk in front of the Bang’s office building is due to be redone next week, which may interfere with any work on the porch.

“It was a crazy, bizarre timing for everything,” said Tim.

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn