The death of a Hoboken man who waited 20 minutes for an ambulance after being shot in the head during a carjacking at The Mall at Short Hills last December has incited a proposed bill calling for an on-site emergency vehicle for parking garages with low clearances.
Sen. Richard Codey and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. introduced legislation last week that would require facilities with parking garages that are unable to accommodate ambulances to have an on-site emergency vehicle that can access all levels of the structure.
The bill comes six months after Dustin Friedland, a Toms River native, was gunned down when he and his wife returned to their Range Rover in the mall parking garage at about 9 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2013.
Jamie Schare Friedland frantically called 911 multiple times as her dying husband waited until 9:31 p.m. that night to be loaded into an ambulance.
The ambulance, which arrived 20 minutes after the first 911 call, was unable to access the parking garage due to the low clearance at the entrance, forcing emergency personnel to wheel the stretcher and equipment up several levels to where Friedland was shot, load him on the stretch and then run him down to the ambulance. Friedland died later that night at Morristown Medical Center.
"In emergency situations, seconds matter, and we need to make sure that the hard-working emergency personnel have unfettered access to patients," Codey said. "Requiring operators of parking garages with low clearance levels to have a vehicle on site that can access the facility is a common sense solution that could save lives."
Jamie Schare Friedland filed a lawsuit in March, naming, among others, California-based Universal Protection Services LLC, which provides security services to the mall, and the Millburn First Aid Squad.
According to the lawsuit, the first aid squad "took an extended and excessive period of time" to reach Friedland after the first 911 call was made. The lawsuit claims the ambulance not being able to fit into the parking garage was one of the factors to the delay that should have been foreseen.
It's an issue at least two lawmakers hope to have resolved soon.
“This is a simple solution to save people’s lives, which should receive swift legislative approval," Kean said. "This could bring something positive from Mr. Friedland’s tragic murder."