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Lake Tahoe Ambulance licenses pulled

Rob Bhatt

The California Highway Patrol on Wednesday pulled the operating permits – at least temporarily – for Lake Tahoe Ambulance Company.

Two ambulances from the El Dorado County Fire Department, based in Placerville, were dispatched to South Lake Tahoe to cover LTA’s service area until the matter is resolved, possibly as early as today.

The suspension stems from LTA officials’ alleged failure to meet vehicle maintenance guidelines.



Sgt. Rich Obregon, supervisor of the CHP’s South Tahoe field office, was told by officials at CHP headquarters in Sacramento that LTA failed to update required certifications for ambulance brakes.

Obregon was told that the matter should be resolved during a meeting between LTA and CHP representatives scheduled for this morning.



LTA owner Ron Bush could not be reached for comment.

Steve Sarine, the county’s emergency medical services coordinator, was notified of the suspension at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. He asked Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District to cover LTA’s service area until the West Slope ambulances arrived.

In the interim, however, LTA responded to two calls for service – a fall victim at Embassy Suites Resort and a seizure patient near Twin Bridges.

“We knew we were out of service, but we were dispatched and we had to go (to the calls),” said LTA Paramedic Paige Davenport-Crebs.

Davenport-Crebs’ crew transported the fall victim, who had minor injuries, to Barton Memorial Hospital.

A different LTA crew initiated treatment to the seizure patient near Twin Bridges. The woman was taken to Barton via helicopter, according to Lake Valley Fire Protection District crews who assisted on the same call.

CHP officers reportedly told the crew at Twin Bridges that they were out of service at the scene.

Davenport-Crebs’ crew, stationed near Ski Run Boulevard, were ordered out of service by CHP officers at about 7 p.m., about the same time the two West Slope ambulances arrived.

Davenport-Crebs said paramedics were unable to reach Bush and LTA’s top administrator, Chuck Staib, all afternoon.

“We have no idea if we’re supposed to stay at work or go home,” she said.

The paramedics met with Bush and Staib Tuesday during contract talks stemming from the employees’ recent decision authorizing union representation. It was during Tuesday’s discussions that the attorney representing Bush and Staib reportedly canceled further negotiations set for Wednesday due to a scheduling conflict.

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