Young EMT killed in ambulance crash while working final shift before returning to school

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EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A New Jersey EMT was killed Saturday morning while working her last shift before heading to medical school.

Hinal Patel, 22, was in the Spotswood emergency medical services ambulance with another EMT when their car was hit by a silver Prius. Patel, along with another EMT, were on their way to a separate accident. The ambulance flipped over and hit another car at the intersection of Ryder Lane and Cranbury Road in East Brunswick.

Onlookers said delayed turn signals at the intersection can confuse drivers.

“When it turns red again, the people just keep on turning and they’re supposed to stop,” said Lisa Shanahan, who stopped to watch as emergency workers cleaned up the scene.

It took several hours before ambulance was turned upright again. Police shut down Ryders Lane around 8:30 a.m. through noon.

On Facebook, first aid squads from neighboring towns posted mourning bands over a Spotswood badge.

“I’m sure they’re not taking it that well,” said Shanahan, “cause they’re all like a family.”

The North Stelton Volunteer Fire Company describes Patel's impressive resume, working as an EMT with them since 2012. They say she graduated from Rutgers in May and hoped to become a doctor or physicians assistant. She was about to begin a master's program at Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

"Hinal was a very smart, dedicated member of our family and she will be greatly missed. She had many close friends at North Stelton. The members of the North Stelton Volunteer Fire company are devastated by her loss and extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and coworkers," the post read.

The drivers of the ambulance and the Prius were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injures.

The investigation of the crash is still underway.

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