Last night, at one minute before end of shift... we got boned* with a strange ambulance dispatch. There were TWO people with eye injuries reported at the local convenience store. Because it was at shift change, my day partner rolled the rescue truck so he could leave on time, and I opted to stay and tech the call while my relief EMT drove the Boo-Boo Bus. On the short drive there, she speculated they did some kind of Three Stooges gag and poked each other in the eye. I was thinking gas got splashed somehow at the pump. When we got there, we initially couldn't find anyone, but then my female partner found them both in the ladies room. The two female victims were trying to rinse off something they got sprayed with. One was clearly in worse off condition and we got her into the ambulance for care. The other was able to see OK and tell me what happened. They were in the other girl's open top convertible while sitting at the town's only stoplight. Another car came up from behind, went around them, and as they did sprayed the drivers side of the convertible with some unknown substance and kept going. The driver got the brunt of it right in the face. Since the passenger seemed OK, we called a second ambulance for her and the state police because this was clearly a criminal act. State police arrived fast and I left her in the care of my daytime partner and state troopers waiting for the other ambulance. I then climbed in the back of our ambulance to take care of the driver.
She was crying intensely producing large amounts of tears, mucous, and saliva. It was becoming obvious she was hit with some kind of self-defense pepper spray. I gave her a towel soaked with normal saline to dab her face and eyes to try to dilute any residue. I was able to get a set of vitals, and other than an understandably elevated pulse, she was normal. We started transport and the state police said they would be looking for the suspect car, and send troopers to the hospital to take statements. During transport I gave her another wet towel because she had the substance on her bare arms and midriff and said it burned. By the time we got to the hospital, her eyes were open, she could see and was just still suffering the burning on her skin with a red rash.
This is a new one on me... a drive by pepper spraying? The girls said that the encounter in the intersection was the first time they saw the car, there was not a road-rage incident. They were playing a driving game where you flip a coin at the intersection to see which way to go. Just out in the drop-top on a sunny, warm, summer afternoon bothering nobody. This got me thinking... now I have something else to look out for while out on my bike, especially riding solo. Is this gonna be a new thing? I hope not. The only instances I have found on-line were done by cops on crowds (in Minneapolis of all places), so hopefully this is just a one-off.
*Boned - a call that happens in what we call "The Bone Zone" that runs from 16:30 to 18:00. It means we're not going home on time. It is signified by playing the "Twilight Zone" theme song over the firehouse P.A. system at 16:30 when I am on duty.