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FIRST ON 3: Ambulance driver charged in deadly wreck has long list of traffic violations

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Ambulance driver charged in deadly wreck has long list of traffic violations

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A family is grieving and an ambulance driver is charged a day after a deadly traffic crash in Brunswick County.

Sarah Allen was just a month away from her 20th birthday. She died yesterday after investigators say an ambulance ran a red light near Shallotte.

"She was a beautiful child. Very sweet," Sarah's mother Deborah Allen said.

Allen says her 19-year-old daughter was headed to class at Brunswick Community College Monday morning, but she never made it.

Allen spoke to her daughter moments before she was hit by an ambulance troopers say ran a red light.

"she told me good bye around 8:45 yesterday morning," Allen said. "I had asked if she had any breakfast. She said she was going to stop along the way and get something. We told each other we love her like we always do, always tell her to be safe like we always do."

Allen says Sarah was in her first year of cosmetology school and was looking forward to her future.

"She would have wanted to get married one day and have children," her mother said.

But while this Oak Island family grieves, many ask questions about the crash.

Investigators say the ambulance did not have its lights on and did not yield the right of way at the stop light. The ambulance was taking a non-emergency case to the hospital when it slammed into the teen's sedan.

The driver of the ambulance, Joseph David Fancher, has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

This is not the first time the 45-year-old has been in trouble behind the wheel. Fancher's list of traffic violations include driving without a license, expired inspection, no seat belt, no insurance, and speeding.

The Allen family did not want to say much about the details of the crash, but did want to share some advice with parents.

"Hold your family tight and close to you," Allen said.

We contacted Amera-Tech, the company that owns the ambulance, for a comment, but we have not heard back.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Get real

Driver shows a pattern of bad driving, period. Why would you defend that? fool

Girl killed in accident

Regardless of his mistake he should have been paying attention while driving. One has to understand that while driving you MUST stay focused. It wasn't like the red light wasn't hard to see. Anyone with driving common sense should know if you approach a traffic light so many feet to slow down. You never know when it change


The only problem with that is...aren't YOU judging people right now?

Leave it to WWAY to

Leave it to WWAY to embellish the story as usual. As if the tragedy wasn't enough of a story they have to provide misleading information concerning the driver of the ambulance and his driving history. What they failed to report is that in 2004 he was convicted of driving on a revoked license and 2 speeding tickets reduced (as usual) in 2003. His license was probably revoked for not paying fines on the 2003 speeding tickets. All of the other charges were dismissed. This whole incident was tragic and my heart goes out to the Allen family. Rest assured, the court cannot punish this man to any extent that he is already punishing himself. He will have to live with his mistake. And yes it was a mistake but one we have all made at some point in our driving days. To all of you including myself, be glad we had better luck than conduct because we have all at some point become distracted for whatever reason and ran a red light, slammed on breaks to prevent running a red light, bumped into someone's vehicle, etc. AFter all, we are all human.

Thank you for being the voice of reason

Thank you for being the voice of reason. I love that most of these folks will got to church on Sunday, bow their little heads and act like good little christians.


I was behind a guy at a traffic signal on South College Road yesterday who was trying to make a U-turn. Apparently, the guy who was in front of him did something to upset him because when the front car turned, the driver in front of me gave him the finger and was moving his mouth, so I knew he was cursing at the man. I also made a U-turn along with the guy in front of me. I was shocked when this same guy who gave the finger and cursed at the guy in front of him....turn into a church parking lot. I was blown away!

Christians, please remember...there is always someone watching you. You are a representative of Jesus Christ and should behave accordingly.

Driving Record

Yes, like one other comment. I too, have been driving for 40+ years. Never had a speeding ticket, Never drivin without a license. Only have had two bump-ups in a parking lot. That's it. Yes, there are a lot of responsible safe drivers on the road. Why would Amer-tech hire someone whose driving record proves he is obviously a careless driver. His carelessness has broken the hearts and shattered the lives of a very large family. She was a daughter, granddaughter, she had many aunts and uncles, she had many cousins and many many friends. Their lives will never be the same.

Employment driving records

Generally employers only look at recent driving records. Like everythingelse if the guy hadnt had a legit moving violation since 2003 (8yrs) If employers only could hire somebody whod never had a violation they would be hard to find 'perfect' drivers.. Normally the offenses that are disqualifying are those such as DWI/DUI (at 10yrs maybe they are no long considered if its a one time violation). But Id hardly say a guy with 2 speeding tickets from 8 yrs ago and then apparently didnt pay his fines in proper time is hardly somebody who is a threat to the roads. Sorry some people arent quit as perfect as you grampa.

I know a couple of the

I know a couple of the comments stated that it was an accident BUT, on the other side Im in law enforcement and we are taught that there are no such things as accidents. They are crashes because of someones neglect. Although it is sad for both parties involved, us as emergency type workers always are suppose to "opporate in due regard for the saftey of the public". It doesnt matter if you have your lights and siren on or not if you approach a red light and you run it and hit someone it is still your fault. There was no need for the ambulance driver to drive like this as well as to have that DMV record and be aloud to operate an ambulance on behalf of Ameri-Tech. I pray for the family as well as the ambulance driver, but you have to pay for not paying attention.

Arrogant LEO

Who the heck do you think you are? are you kidding? you guys fly up and down the 17, talking on your phones, playing with your computer. If you are truly law enforcement police your own behavior first. Trust me LEO in brunswick county is no squeaky clean in driving behavior, as we saw when one of your own about killed herself on the 17 and it all quietly went away. So get the heck off your high horse and do not make comments that make this man feel any worse then he already does. You should be ashamed of yourself, if your a trained professional.

Just to comment about LEO...

First off I am not a law enforcement officer but I have many friends/family that are. You make comments about them speeding up and down 17, talking on their phones and playing on their computers. Well just to give you some insight, many of these officers are indeed trying to get from one call to another. The county is very large and many times with a limited number of deputies covering the entire county. Everyone complains about response times but than complain when they see them speeding. How can these men/women win?! Than talking on their cells... how about that they are talking to dispatch about the location of the call or coordinating backup. Also, are you telling me you never talk to your family at work? Well their job requires them to be in a car so sometimes yes they need to make calls while driving. It's not against the law in NC as far as I'm aware. As for the computer... do you realize they run tags of cars to try to catch people that way? Yes there are some that take advantage of these things but in many cases they need to use these things to do their job. As for the deputy you refer to, and people still will not give up about on these boards, she does not work at the department anymore.
With all that said, this tragic situation is not a time to bash LEO when it had nothing to do with them.


There are many times I've seen LEO fly down the road then pull over next to a buddy (not on a call), I've seen them burn rubber leaving places just for fun, Talking on their Cells to people completely unrelated to law enforcement, I was beside one that actually wasn't speeding but he had the phone to his ear for about 15 miles and I'm sure it wasn't to dispatch. Nobody is perfect, nobody is blameless. Mistakes happen and we don't truly know the facts. I mean this is the news we are talking about here, not exactly the biggest fact machine out there. Almost every firefighter or EMT I know has at least 1 if not more tickets in 8 years, The man only has 2 tickets for moving violations both approximately 7-8 years ago. Bashing him is not going to help the fact someone has passed away, especially when we don't know all the facts. Plus if you see the pictures of the ambulance then you would see he wasn't speeding, Ive seen more damage from a parking lot fender bender. This is a truly tragic ACCIDENT and my heart and prayers go out to the family of the young woman and the driver who has to live with this the rest of his life, something no court could ever top.


If you truely are an LEO, and you are passing judgement, you should be ashagmed of yourself. From a LEO.

Oh his record is soo wretched

The guy had 2 speeding tickets 8!!! 8 yrs ago The revocation is a potential issue but it was likely for failure to pay tickets (My wifes boss got charged with the same thing over a stupid inspection ticket over a car she didnt even own any longer and got bad info from a court clerk all of a suddenly nearly 2 yrs later shes charged with Driving while revoked) Its not always done intentionally but it 2 was 7 yrs ago.. Most employers only care about recent infractions. And its not like law enforcement isnt immune to driving like idiots lest we forget the deputy who was driving 100MPH down Hwy 17 in her POV or the cop in Wilmington who got himself killed going way too fast down Shipyard Blvd. (To me its still disgusting that some guy was convicted of 2nd degree murder when the Cop was the moron driving way too fast for road conditions and he wasnt even actively involved in any chase)

YOu are however right this was definitely a case of due regard that was seriously lacking but his old driving record isnt relevant here. I guarantee if you were to check driving records youd find plenty of 'emergency workers' who had old driving charges.

okay so with the record the

okay so with the record the this man had why in the world would ameria-tech let him drive any how! i have seen plenty of the ameri-tech ambulances flying like a batt outta hel* down highway 17 and swerving from lane to lane and it baffles me that they have still made no move to better their company by means of getting rid of people like this man with a poor driving record or the people who do not take the time to look at them. my heart goes out to this family you are all in my prayers

I agree. How sad, and

I agree. How sad, and tragic, for this beautiful young lady, her friends, and her family. The ambulance driver messed up. He made a mistake. Who hasn't accidently run a red light or been speeding ? It was a accident, and certainly not deliberate. So instead of throwing rocks at him, lets say a prayer for him too. I'm sure he feels very bad. I will use this tragedy as a post-it note, for me to try to be a little more careful, myself. I can think of several times, when it could have just as easily been me.

I once was an ambulance

I once was an ambulance driver. Emergency vehicle operators must be held to a higher standard. You have a patient on board who is not in a life-threatening situation means you are extra careful so your patient is comfortable and so you don't do something stupid. (If your patient IS in a life-threatening situation, then you are triple careful.) I have no problem saying a prayer for him. I'll pray that justice is swift and merciful and he is taken off the road forever. He gets to see loved ones every day. Sarah's folks don't anymore.


You were never an ambulance driver, you know why I know that? because we don't refer to ourselves as ambulances drivers, matter of fact we take offence to that, we dont just drive people arround like a taxi, if you think that then just call a taxi. We refer to ourselves as EMT's as is our job title, and swift justice!? really? Be honest with yourself, how many times have you ever caught yourself speeding, not paying attention, accidently running a red light, not completely stopping at a stop sign. If your honest with yourself it'll be atleast a couple, now think about if there had ever been another vehicle around and you accidently took someone elses life, how would you feel? It was a tragic accident, nothing more or less. I am obviously also an EMT and I was Tboned by another vehicle (while in an ambulance) by a car that was traveling at around 60mph in a 35 and blew through a stop sign and hit us, Turning us over and injuring Me, My partner, and the passenger of their car. Sure we weren't killed but it was a matter of another 6 inches and I would've been. Things happen, It's not like this was done on purpose, something probably ended up distracting the driver, for all you know something was going on in the back of the ambulance. This was very tragic, but taking measures against the driver will not make things better and its surely not justice. Justice is reserved for criminals and those who willingly break the law. judge yourself before you judge others and as someone else said let those without sin cast the first stone. I really doubt there will be any flying stones anytime soon.

My heart goes out to the family of the woman who died in that tragic accident and to the driver of the ambulance as well. I will pray for you all

Let he without sin

Let he without sin cast the first stone.

Pardon me, Mr. laser

Sorry I stepped on your oxygen tube, young fellow. Your expert testimony, "You were never an ambulance driver, you know why I know that? because we don't refer to ourselves as ambulances drivers..." is so wrong. Did I say I was an ambulance driver at the present time? No. My involvement with emergency medical services, if you prefer, was about 40 years ago when EMTs and Paramedics were a dream in somebody's eye. Most of us were extremely well trained in first aid, CPR, light and heavy rescue and patient care (my squad, by the way, had the second set of Jaws of Life ever made, given to us by the manufacturer for testing. Los Angeles FD had the first). Mobil cardiac units and defibs were not even a dream in anyone's eye yet. I stand by my first post--the driver of any emergency vehicle--ambulance, fire truck or police car--must be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. If I'm the guy in the back of your rig having a heart attack, laser, the last thing I want to worry about is a wreckless driver behind the wheel.

Having said all that, all of the EMT/Paramdedic units I have come in contact with here are extremely professional people and we should be proud of them.

thank you laser

as a matter of fact we do take to offense being called just mere "Ambulance Drivers," we are professionals, certified and regulated by the state. EMTs put there lives on the line everyday no matter the situation. as an EMS worker myself, I have made a mistake before and accidently ran a red light in a non-emergency sitiuation, just by being distracted by something as small as a flicker of light. and also working for transport companies EMTs do encounter Emergency situations that call for lights and sirens, we are not merely a "taxi service" we save lives too! I have been involved in EMS (fire, rescue, and transport) for 9 years and I am proud to be a part of something as great as the EMS Community!

Thank you for your comment "I Once Was An Ambulance Driver"

Very well said. Thank you!!!!

This is a truly tragic

This is a truly tragic situation. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this young woman. My prayers also go out to the driver of the ambulance and his family and friends. Situations like this are hard all around and the best thing that you can do is to remember the life of this young woman and celebrate it.

How sad

My heart just breaks for the family of Sarah. How sad and how unnecessary her death is.

This man has to be held accountable for the stupid decision he made. On one of the other stories, someone said he made a mistake. No - a mistake is adding 2+2 and getting 5. He made a decision that cost someone their life and for that he is responsible.

Amer-tech deserves some responsibility also. No background check - no accounting for this man's record. Total irresponsibility on their part.

So quick to judge arent you

With everyone so quick to judge people here, what gives You that right? While yes it is such a tragedy that a life was lost on yesterday, but everyone here needs to think about our ownselves; how many times have you been sppeding, ran a light, trying to slow down and couldnt so you kept going, pre-occupied with something or someone else, and been careless on the road? If you're honest with yourself atleast once or twice.
While this driver may have had many tickets in the past how many of you have a perfect driving record? If everyone that is making out-landish remarks could show the past of your lives would you not have a few things that may be questionable?
As an EMT, or Paramedic we go through many months of extensive training, continuing education on a monthly and yearly basis; I would know I have been a Paramedic for more than 20 yrs and it seems that when a situation such as this tragedy happens we are placed on a higher pedistal than we should be because just like you WE ARE HUMAN TOO! Everyone makes mistakes and often times no one gets hurt or killed and we are just the lucky ones. But until you can sit there and be honest about never making a mistake or making a bad choice that has resulted in consequences, KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT! NOBODY IS PERFECT
I am pretty sure that the person driving the ambulance didnt wake up on yesterday and set out to intentionally cause harm to such a beautiful young lady (Sara Allen)resulting in a traumatic mistake.
Both families in this loses and for the family that lost a child, grand-daughter, cousin, sister or a friend; my heart goes out to you in this time of tragedy. For the person that was driving they also lose, they lose thier life as they know it. He or She will have to live with themselves forever and if they have families they will also have to pay each and every day.
With all this being said as the Bible speaks "Let us without sin cast the first stone", I have no right to pick up a rock and throw when my driveway is full of stones and as far as I am concerned neither do any of you writing comments. Take all the negativity and find some type of positive for yourselves and the people involved.

So judge to quick

Are you kidding me with this response. You think before push the send button. Look at his record, and ran a red light and killed a person. This isn't a mistake, he ran a red light. Take that bible you are preaching from, and beat yourself with it

"So quick to judge"



I am sorry you feel that way, but I must ask Are you perfect? Have you ever made a wrong decesion? Have you ever received a ticket or citation? Well I definitely know the answer to #1 and that NO YOUR NOT PERFECT.................when you get that way, then start judging people. But until then who's to say that this would never happen to you. As for the Bible well I guess maybe I should let you borrow mine sometime because I am not sure if you have one to read or not but I will pray for you.

So quick to Judge

Please- get a grip! While normally I would agree with not judging others - here is my opinion.

While most of us do not have perfect driving records - most of us DO NOT HAVE A JOB THAT REQUIRES US TO DRIVE FOR A LIVING!!

This man should not have been hired for this position. I doubt he normally would have been hired for a pizza delivery position .

As a nurse, an ER nurse - I respect and understand the training involved in being an EMT or a Paramedic. We ARE held to higher standard. And we SHOULD be.

It is sad that this happened. I am sure that the driver feels terrible. But I promise - this girl's family feels worse.

His family will see him again.

Part of mourning is anger- while it may not always be right- it is what happens.


He would never be hired to delivery pizza? Roflmao you really dont know much about the liability rules for drivers do you? 1st off in the case of the pizza driver as long as they have no major violation within last couple yrs they could careless. The drivers have to be covered by their own insurance coverage so the pizza establishment isnt liable. The guy had 2 bloody tickets 8 yrs ago.. And just to speak from experience I was in Fire/EMS for many years before becoming involved in the healthcare field as a nurse. The reality is the companies have certain standards they have to meet based on their insurance company. Im being dead serious NO company would have denied this guy as a hire with 2 moving violations for speeding 8 yrs ago. If you knew what the hiring processes involved for Emergency Services the standard usually is No moving violations within a 24-36 month period (some will allow one depending) Also no DWIs within 7-10yrs (and this would be a single DWI only any 2nd and its automatic denial of eligibility).