Editor's Note: The following is, in full, the report submitted to the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees on Nov. 12 by Sleepy Hollow Police Chief Gregory Camp, regarding an investigation into the death of Steven Gates on Oct. 20.:
I have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the medical aid and subsequent death of Steven Gates, a participant in the 10K run held on October 20, 2012. I have determined that the response of the emergency services for this medical emergency were within a reasonable time frame and was not a contributing factor to his passing.
On Saturday October 20, 2012 the Rivertown Runners sponsored a 10K race which was approved to be held in the Village of Sleepy Hollow. This event required pre-planning by the organizers and various staff and departments within the village, including emergency service divisions. Several meetings were held prior to the event to plan and coordinate staffing that would enhance public safety, which was the top priority. These meetings included administrators from the police, ambulance and public works, as well as the village administrator and recreation department. The route was planned and locations marked for temporary road closures and diversions, to ensure adequate staff was available for the safety of the general public, spectators, participants, event staff and motorists.
On the day of the event there were police personnel assigned to staff various locations where traffic would not impede or endanger pedestrians and the DPW placed cones and barricades at numerous locations to assist with road closures and traffic diversions. The event organizers provided numerous volunteer staff to post at various locations to assist with race participant safety and warnings to vehicle traffic. Sleepy Hollow Ambulance Corp. Captain Edgar Brennan coordinated staffing of emergency medical personnel at several locations along the event route. This included having personnel from Phelps Memorial Hospital staffing a medical tentat the race start/finish area, staffing two Sleepy Hollow ambulances with Emergency Medical Technicians, as well as a staffed ‘fly car’, and providing a Paramedic from the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp., strategically stationed along the route of the race.
The event started on time and personnel were in place along the route. At 09:58 am the Sleepy Hollow Police Department received a 911 call reporting that a runner was down in front of 58 Fremont Road. Eleven seconds later at 09:59 am a second 911 call came in reporting a man collapsed at this same location. The desk officer dispatched emergency medical personnel at 09:59 am to 58 Fremont Road. The desk officer also contacted Mount Pleasant PD at 10:01 am to respond the paramedic provided by the town to the village. A third 911 was received at 10:03 am with the caller reporting that somebody is down on Fremont. The desk officer advised the caller that the ambulance was on the way. At 10:03 am the Ossining Paramedic arrived on scene and started intubation of the aided, as CPR was already in progress, being performed by civilian personnel at the scene. At 10:04 am SHAC Captain Brennan reports he is on scene. A fourth 911 was received at 10:05 am with the caller asking where the ambulance was and stating that CPR was in progress. The desk officer immediately notified the responding ambulance that CPR was being performed. The Paramedic from Trans-care (a 2nd paramedic), dispatched by MPPD, was on scene at 10:05am. The Sleepy Hollow ambulance reported at 10:10 am that they had arrived on scene. A 10:20 am radio call by the Sleepy Hollow ambulance reported that they were transporting the aided to Phelps Hospital (2 medics and an EMT on board).
I am aware that there have been a number of accusations that medical and police personnel were not on scene until 15 or 20 minutes after CPR was started by others who witnessed the runner collapsing. Audio logs and various reports indicate that emergency medical personnelwere on scene within 5 minutes of the first call reporting that a runner was down. There is also a time stamp on the EKG machine used by the medic on scene, indicating a time stamp at 10:05 am, according to Doctor Nigro of Phelps Hospital. The ACR provided by the Trans-caremedic, the second medic on scene, shows a dispatch time of 10:01 am with arrival at the scene at 10:05am.
The criticism regarding a late response by police and ambulance personnel are attributable to the fact that the first medic on scene was operating a black Ford Crown Vic, not an ambulance and that the second medic and Captain Brennan were driving SUV type vehicles, not an ambulance. Critics were looking for the ambulance and police cars, typically known to them by their particular lighting and markings.
Proper care and response was provided, as planned for. Steven Gates had a cardiac arrest event and ultimately passed away as a result of this ‘heart attack’. Proper care was provided and all efforts were made in an attempt to save his life. The medics on scene had the necessary and proper equipment to render the required aid.
_ Gregory J. Camp, Chief of Police