New York Man Faces Felony Charges From 2022 Crash

New York Man Faces Felony Charges From 2022 Crash

ROCK SPRINGS – A New York man faces 30 years in prison following an incident in eastern Sweetwater County that claimed the life of an ambulance driver in late 2022.

Saviol Saint Jean, 45, had his initial appearance on felony charges of aggravated homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault and battery. The aggravated homicide by vehicle charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine while the aggravated assault and battery charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His bond was previously set at $150,000 cash or surety by Circuit Court Judge John Prokos prior to the initial appearance, with Circuit Court Judge Craig Jones upholding that bond. A preliminary hearing is set for June 5 at 1:30 p.m.

According to court documents, a crash on the westbound lane Interstate 80 Dec. 21, 2022, resulted in the Wyoming Highway Patrol and local emergency medical providers being dispatched to mile marker 197 at 4:04 a.m. At 4:20 a.m. Trooper Jay Scheel had learned of a total lane blockage that consisted of a red Ford F150 truck in the median facing north, a blue Kenworth operated by Rey Logistics that was parked in the right lane and had a metal frame from a trailer the red pickup partially underneath it, a red Freightliner Cascadia operated by Vamar, Inc. in the left lane and was driven by Saint Jean, another red Freightliner Cascadia operated by Saia Motor Freight Lint LLC. that was facing west and a white and blue Ford F350 Super Duty Ambulance facing west in the left lane. Scheel’s observations resulted him concluding that Saint Jean’s vehicle had struck the ambulance.

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Scheel contacted the driver of the blue Kenworth, who directed him to the interstate median where he saw a person later identified as 29-year-old EMT Tyeler Harris laying under the landing gear of the Saia truck. Documents state the trooper discovered Harris had allegedly been struck by Saint Jean’s truck and was thrown into the landing gear. Harris died as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Scheel contacted the other EMT from the ambulance, identified as Tiffany Gruetzmacher, who was sitting with the driver of the Saia truck. According to the driver, he found Gruetzmacher underneath the cab of Saint Jean’s truck. He said he grabbed her from the truck and pulled her into the ambulance. Gruetzmacher had spots of blood on her face, with Scheel noting she appeared disoriented. 

The driver of the Rey Logistics truck later told a Rawlins Police Department officer that he was traveling in the right lane behind another truck that was going not more than 40 MPH. The truck in front of him swerved to the right and onto the shoulder. He then saw the pickup and the trailer and despite hitting his brakes, ended up colliding with the trailer. About 10 minutes after the collision, he said the ambulance showed up. After the ambulance showed up, the EMS workers responding to the crash he was involved in were walking back to the ambulance when Saint Jean’s truck collided with the ambulance. He claimed Saint Jean’s truck was traveling between 70 and 80 MPH when it struck the ambulance. The co-driver of the Rey Logistics vehicle said he was asleep until the initial crash with the trailer and said the ambulance was parked over the yellow line near the median and alleged Saint Jean’s truck was driving at an “excessive speed” and hit the ambulance.  

When interviewed about the crash, Saint Jean told investigators he was driving 55-60 MPH. He said he saw the ambulance lights and thought it was on the right side and tried to avoid it by moving into the left lane and collided with the ambulance. Documents state he didn’t see the initial crash and put the engine down and saw people. He also said he was focused on the ambulance and tried to reduce speed and stop the vehicle, but it was too late. 

The WHP reconstructed the crash, which revealed there were two separate crashes at the scene, the first being between the Ford pickup and the Kenworth, with the second being between the ambulance Saint Jean’s truck. The ambulance was parked on the left hand of the interstate near the median. The reconstruction alleges Saint Jean’s truck was the second vehicle, driving on the right side of the road, and then entered the left lane where it struck the ambulance in a collision that resulted in Harris’ death and several injuries to Gruetzmacher.

A Fatal Collision Reconstruction report written by LT. Tyler Chapman of the WHP cited in court documents alleged road conditions by the Wyoming Department of Transportation were slick in spots from milepost 216 to milepost 187 and claimed he did not encounter slick areas while responding to the crash scene from Rawlins. That report also noted the ambulance was parked mostly in the left lane between the Rey Logistics and Saia trucks and all emergency lights on the ambulance were activated, with Harris and Gruetzmacher out of the vehicle checking for injuries when Saint Jean’s truck arrived. Chapman also noted in his report that as Saint Jean approached the scene, he would have been able to see the flashing hazard lights from the Rey Logistics truck in the right lane and the ambulance emergency lights in the left lane, as well as the flashing hazard lights from the Saia truck in the median and the headlights from the red F150 that was also in the median. 

“There were no environmental conditions or mechanical conditions that contributed to this crash, making human error the cause,” the court documents state, citing the report.