New Brunswick

Paramedic who crashed into car after running red light acquitted

A paramedic accused after a crash with failing to stop at a red light was found not guilty Wednesday.

MacKenzie Holmes was at wheel of ambulance when he struck car at Saint John intersection

MacKenzie Holmes leaves the Saint John courthouse after hearing a 'not guilty' verdict from Judge Andrew LeMesurier (Graham Thompson/CBC)

The paramedic accused of failing to stop at a red light was found not guilty Wednesday.

Mackenzie Holmes, 22, of Hampton, was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act after the ambulance he was driving crashed with a car at the intersection of Crown Street and Union Street in Saint John in September 2019.

The crash garnered public attention after Holmes and fellow paramedic Brittany Gionet, who were on their way to respond to a call, climbed out of the overturned ambulance to help the woman in the other car.

"I conclude the defendant was driving appropriately and with due care," Judge Andrew LeMesurier said Wednesday.

Crown didn't prove beyond reasonable doubt that Holmes wasn't driving with due care when crash happened, judge said. (Tyson Bell/Facebook)

Holmes appeared in Saint John provincial court for the judgment. He represented himself in the one-day trial earlier this month, where he testified he had his lights and sirens on, he slowed down before the intersection and checked appropriately before running the red light.

LeMesurier said he believes those details to be facts. Holmes quietly nodded a few times when LeMesurier said "not guilty."

Emma Campbell, the woman driving the red Dodge Calibre that crashed with the ambulance, previously testified she didn't see any lights or hear any sirens when she followed the green light and drove through the intersection. She also said her view was obscured by a building on her right-hand side.

LeMesurier said it's "understandable" that Campbell failed to yield to the ambulance because her view was obscured.

And because she couldn't see Holmes, Holmes couldn't see her. 

LeMesurier said the Crown didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Holmes failed to slow down and drive with due care before running a red light to respond to an emergency.

LeMesurier said he believes this is what happened on Sept. 17: Holmes was operating an authorized emergency vehicle. He activated his siren and flashing red light to respond to a 911 call. As he approached the intersection he was faced with a red light and slowed his vehicle, and "unfortunately he was hit by the Campbell vehicle, which proceeded through the intersection.

"The defendant was not driving with excessive speed."

LeMesurier said he also accepts what Holmes said about people often not yielding to emergency vehicles. He said this would make Holmes "extra alert" as he drove through the red light.

Christianna Williston with Ambulance New Brunswick confirmed to CBC that Holmes is currently an employee of Ambulance New Brunswick.