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Bullet hits ambulette in Vinegar Hill

Close call: Ambulette driver Johnalee Sanders points to the area where a stray bullet struck his vehicle as he transported a patient near the Farragut Houses in Vinegar Hill on Thursday night.
Photo by Paul Martinka

A Crown Heights ambulette driver says he is thankful to be alive after a maniac opened fire near his vehicle in Vinegar Hill on Friday morning, winging the van with a bullet.

The driver, who was transporting a patient at the time, said it was the most hair-raising thing he’d ever experienced.

“I’m 53 years old and I’ve never seen something like this in my life,” said driver Johnalee Sanders.

Sanders said he had just picked up a dialysis patient at a building on Sand Street at Gold Street shortly before 8:30 am, when he saw two men running towards his ambulette. One of the guys started firing a gun, letting off “six or seven shots” at the man he was apparently pursuing, he said.

With bullets flying, Sanders said he stepped on the gas, but as he attempted to get out of danger, a bullet slammed into the rear driver’s side of his van. The slug did not hit Sanders or his passenger, but he said the hot lead narrowly missed the ambulette’s gas tank.

Sanders said he is shaken but relieved that both he and his patient are okay.

“I just want to go home to my wife,” he said. “I’m so thankful.”

Paramedics transported the man injured in the shooting to New York Methodist Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to the right forearm, a police spokesman said.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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