Multiple people were injured after a motorist drove through a tent area behind the Integrated Care Hub on Montreal Street on the night of Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.
Frontenac Paramedics, Kingston Police and Kingston Fire & Rescue all responded to the 600 block of Montreal Street at around 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday night after receiving reports that a motorist had crashed a through a tent area behind the ICH, injuring several people.
Eyewitnesses said that four individuals were struck and ambulances transported patients with varying degrees of injuries for additional treatment at Kingston General Hospital.
Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed that a Code Orange (mass casualty event) was called at Kingston General Hospital as a precautionary measure due to the incident. This included moving patients from the Emergency Department to other floors in preparation for an unknown number of patients. However, as more information about the incident was received, the Code Orange was not subsequently activated to a level beyond precautionary.
“Our Emergency Department (ED) will initially receive a call letting us know that there is the potential of a mass casualty event at which time KHSC would initiate a “Code Orange Standby” while we await more information from the scene,” KHSC said in an email in response to Kingstonist inquiries. “During this time KHSC would begin preparations, which last night included, pulling staff from other areas of the hospital to assist in the ED, quickly moving admitted patients from the ED to inpatient units, and opening our Admission and Transfer Unit (ATU), to create room for incoming patients.”
According to KHSC, those efforts were sufficient and the hospital was not required to move to a ‘Code Orange Activation’ which would have resulted in “a larger response, including freeing up capacity and resources in the Operating Rooms, ICU, Diagnostic Imaging and other areas of the hospital, as well as bringing in on-call staff from across the organization to support a full scale response.”
“It is important to note that we continue to see very high volumes of patients in the ED and across the hospital, as well as experience ongoing staffing shortages which were both the case last night,” KHSC said.
While the hospital continues to encourage those that have urgent medical conditions to call 911 or visit their nearest Emergency Department, KHSC is asking those with less urgent needs to visit www.rightplacerightcare.ca to determine how best to access the health-care resources that meet their needs, and to allow hospital resources to be available for truly emergent incidents like this one.
As of 10:30 p.m., the scene had been put in the control of Kingston Police for further investigation.
Kingston Police confirmed that the 36-year-old driver had been taken into custody. Charges stemming from the incident were not immediately divulged. “There are a number of investigators involved at the moment,” said Kingston Police Media Relations Officer Ash Gutheinz, explaining that charges were not yet known and would be determined following the completion of the investigation, likely the following day.
Gutheinz confirmed that all of the victims involved in the collision sustained injuries which were considered non-life threatening.
On Wednesday night, Gilles Charette, Executive Director of Trellis HIV & Community Care, and Carol Ravnaas and Betty Jo Dean, Co-Executive Directors of KFL&A Addiction and Mental Health issued a statement on behalf of the Integrated Care Hub consortium of partners. “We are shocked and horrified at the news of what took place on the ICH property. Details are still unclear, but our understanding is that a vehicle entered the ICH property and collided with tents where individuals isolating with COVID-19 were resting,” the statement read.
“At this time, we are unsure of the extent of injuries. Thank you to Kingston Police Services, Frontenac Paramedics and Kingston Fire and Rescue for their prompt response and assistance,” the statement continued. “Our hearts are with those who are injured, and with the staff and people we serve who have been witness to this horrific scene.”
“We thank the community for their support and offers of assistance. We will issue a call-out for assistance when we are clearer of the need,” the statement advised.
Tom Greening, Executive Director of HomeBase Housing, was one of several staff members from local homelessness assistance organizations who were on scene assisting ICH staff following the incident. Greening said they would be on hand through the night to assist those affected in any way they could.
Kingston Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident, or who may have additional information, to please contact Sergeant Blair Watt in the Criminal Investigations Division via email at [email protected].
This is a developing story, more to come.