Port Jervis police are awaiting toxicology reports to determine if a volunteer firefighter who was fatally struck by an ambulance early Sunday morning was intoxicated when he fell asleep in front of an ambulance bay on Church Street, Chief William Worden said Monday.
Nicholas McKeon, a 22-year-old Port Jervis Fire Department volunteer since his teens, died after being struck by a Port Jervis Volunteer Ambulance at 5:49 a.m. Sunday, Worden said.
"We believe he had been drinking. We're still trying to confirm that," Worden said. "Our preliminary investigation leads us to the point that we believe he was walking home after being out in town here and that he stopped and laid down in that location."
The ambulance was responding to a call for service when it struck McKeon on its way out of the building, Worden said.
"They were not aware that the individual was laying in front of the door, nor did they see him," Worden said of the first responders driving the ambulance.
Port Jervis police are investigating the incident, Worden said.
The Port Jervis Volunteer Ambulance Corps Board of Directors issued a statement that they are cooperating with "all police investigations."
"This was a tragic accident that we would never wish upon any family or community," the statement said. " ... We ask that everyone please be respectful of everyone involved."
The fire department called the incident "a tragic accident."
Worden said the incident hits close to home, especially for all Port Jervis emergency responders.
"Our community is in sorrow," Worden said. "This is a very tragic incident and we are praying for the McKeon family, and we are praying for the emergency service responders at the ambulance corps.
"It's really a community that's been affected and it's very tragic."