A former ambulance driver involved in a fatal crash in 2011 was given a one-year suspended sentence Monday on a negligent homicide charge in Oklahoma County District Court.
Benjamin Ward Samples, 38, had entered a blind plea of no contest in September.
“The prosecution wanted 90 days in jail, the victim's family wanted a year in jail, and the judge gave him no time in jail and no community service,” said Samples' attorney, Ed Blau.
Samples, an emergency medical technician, was driving an ambulance on Dec. 10, 2011, when it collided with a Toyota Scion making a left turn on NW 10 near May Avenue. The driver of the Toyota, Fidel Mesa-Solis, was killed in the accident.
Police and court records indicate the ambulance was going 83 mph in a 40 mph zone at the time of the accident and Samples was driving left of center.
He was fired by the Emergency Medical Services Authority later that month.
“He's very relieved that he did not get any jail time,” Blau said. The attorney said Samples thought jail time was “completely unfair, and in the end the judge agreed with us.”
Samples, who has been working as a home health care worker since the accident, is in the process of becoming a registered nurse, Blau said.
Samples has suffered from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since the crash, Blau said.
“Obviously he's devastated. On that day, he got up to help people and save lives and he ended up taking a life,” Blau said.