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Driver of car in fatal ambulance crash faces charges

MILFORD — A woman accused of running a stop sign and causing a fatal ambulance crash Tuesday is expected to face criminal charges that include motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, according to the Worcester district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

A patient riding in the back of the ambulance was killed after the driver of the car clipped the ambulance, causing it to overturn.

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On Wednesday, the victim’s son remembered 58-year-old Karen Scott of Upton as an outspoken woman who loved to tell her two children how proud she was of them.

“It hasn’t really hit yet, quite honestly,” Joe Scott, 23, said as he stood outside his home on Main Street in Upton, holding a platter of food a neighbor had brought over.

The driver — Lisa Zemack, 61, of Framingham — will probably be ordered to appear in Milford District Court at a later date, prosecutors said. She has three prior citations for speeding, in 1990, 1995, and 2005, said Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. The lights were off, and no one answered the door at an address listed for her.

A surveillance video of the crash shot by a stationary camera at the Domino’s Pizza across the street appears to show a Mercedes-Benz running a stop sign at the intersection of Green Street and clipping the back of the ambulance, which was heading west on Route 140, said Milford police.

The Mercedes “caught the right rear quarter of the ambulance, caused the ambulance to spin 90 degrees clockwise,” said Milford police Sergeant John Sanchioni. “Once it goes 90 degrees, physics and momentum cause it to flip over, a complete flip. . . . It almost went over the guardrail.”

Barry Desruisseaux, who owns Green Street Auto Spa at the corner of Green Street and Route 140, said he and his employees ran outside after the crash to find a terrible scene: the ambulance driver screaming into his radio that he could not get the patient out of the back by himself; car parts strewn across the road; and a shocked-looking woman stepping out of her crumpled car.

A fleet of ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars arrived within two minutes, said Desruisseaux, and quickly had the victim out of the back. But she was not moving, he said, when they loaded her into a second ambulance.

Scott was being transported from a dialysis appointment to a Northbridge nursing center, police said.

She was pronounced dead at Milford Regional Medical Center. Both Zemack and a paramedic who was riding in the back of the ambulance with Scott were treated at the hospital and released, said Milford police.

Joe Scott said he had not been watching the news since the crash, had not heard much about Zemack, and did not know that criminal charges were likely going to be filed.

“I figured as much would happen,” he said. “Our family – we’re more concerned about staying together.”

His mother had been sick for a long time, he said, and was staying in Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center at Northbridge. His is a quiet family, he said, but his mother was outspoken.

“She’s very kind, loving, spoke what she was feeling,” he said.

“I think I got her genes as far as being straightforward. She was always very happy to tell us how proud she was.”

Scott said he lives with his father, Allan, in Upton and has a sister, Jen, 24, who lives in Woonsocket, R.I. Allan and Karen Scott were married for a long time, he said.

“They were happy together, and he loved her a lot,” Joe Scott said.

Scott’s girlfriend Lauren Buckley, 20, said the family is trying to take things one day at a time.

“She was just a really sweet woman, kind-hearted, loved her family more than anything,” Buckley said.

Scott’s wake is scheduled for Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m., and her funeral is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m., both in Upton, Joe Scott said.

In addition to probable criminal charges, police have issued Zemack two civil infractions: failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to grant right of way at an intersection.

The intersection where the crash occurred is a dangerous one, with accidents commonplace, said neighbors and police.

“Every day, you hear the horns beeping, tires screeching,” Desruisseaux said. “They probably should put in a traffic signal.”

Last August, Sanchioni said, a police officer was badly injured when his cruiser was struck while traveling west on Route 140 by a car coming out of Green Street from the same direction as the Mercedes.

“It was front end to front end with the cruiser,” he said. “He’s still dealing with some of the injuries. I wouldn’t say it was life-threatening, but he was out of work for a period of time.”

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.
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