Veterans’ van service continues after accident |

Veterans’ van service continues after accident

Gregory Crofton

A rear-end collision in Carson City last week totaled a Chevrolet Astro used by the Veterans’ Van Service at South Lake Tahoe.

The van shuttles as many as 15 patients each week to a veterans’ hospital in Reno. An older van replaced the wrecked one and the service continued uninterrupted.

“Their (doctor) appointments haven’t changed,” said Bill Kerr, coordinator of the service who served in World War II as a Marine. “The van service is running as usual.”

The service helps about 300 veterans at South Shore get to health care appointments. Shuttle drivers make one trip a day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Jay Brown, a South Shore resident, veteran and one of 16 people who volunteer to drive for the service, injured his neck in the accident. His passenger, a 60-year-old heart patient, was transported to Carson-Tahoe Hospital where he was treated and released.

“The response of the Veterans’ Administration was outstanding,” Brown said. “We had a van in place within 48 hours. Not a single patient missed an appointment due to lack of transportation.”

Air bags deployed in the van, which had four-wheel drive and only 37,000 miles on it, when a car smashed into its rear bumper. The impact sent the van into a car in front of it.

The wreck happened on U.S. Highway 395 last Monday. The replacement van is a four-wheel drive Dodge Caravan with 200,000 miles. Kerr said a new van is not yet on order because insurance companies are still investigating the accident.

Any veteran interested in the van service should contact Kerr at (530) 573-3414.

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