WASHINGTON — The family of a bicyclist killed by a hospital shuttle bus in Northeast, D.C. questions if he would still be alive if medical help arrived even sooner.
Police said 47-year-old Armando Martinez-Ramos died after he was hit at the intersection of 10th Street and Michigan Avenue on Monday morning. The investigation so far revealed Martinez-Ramos was traveling southbound on 10th Street in a marked crosswalk when the bus driver made a left turn and hit him.
A Children’s National Hospital spokesperson said one of its vans used to shuttle its employees hit the cyclist.
The incident happened around 11:07 a.m., according to DC Police. However, the dispatch was miscoded and an ambulance wasn't assigned to the call for about five minutes. Instead, operators sent an engine company to the scene where the responders then requested more help. DC Fire & EMS called the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) for more units and an ambulance arrived 10 minutes later.
"You know 15 minutes can change your life," his sister Adela Martinez-Ramos said. "If the ambulance arrived 15 minutes early, something different can happen. They can help him."
Armando Martinez-Ramos was one of 11 siblings who moved to the U.S. back in 1994. Seven of his siblings live in D.C.
The family said he just started delivering for Uber Eats using his bike recently. They all tried to call and message him later in the day but never heard back. By Monday night, one of his brothers called the police to report he was missing.
It wasn't until the next day that fingerprints confirmed Armando Martinez-Ramos was the cyclist killed.
He leaves behind a wife and four children ranging from 12 to 21 years old.
"Everybody knew him," Adela Martinez-Ramos added. "If you ask another person they'll say he's a nice person."
City officials said there are steps to make sure this type of incident doesn't happen again although no details were specified. The dispatcher will be addressed, but exactly how wasn't released.
OUC has received backlash over the years for multiple delays and dispatcher errors. There have been so many concerns from neighborhoods throughout the District that the Office of the D.C. Auditor is investigating through a formal audit.
D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson told WUSA9 it's in response to numerous complaints from the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board that were allegedly not followed through. The review started two weeks ago and will have a comprehensive analysis from the firm Federal Engineering.
"There could be a lot of factors that go into delays which could be failure to understand the address, not being able to get through, there's just a lot of factors," Patterson said. "They'll be looking at training, at workplace culture, the technology that we're using, so sort of all of those issues."
Patterson said OUC Interim Director Cleo Subido and Interim Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Christopher Geldart are cooperating. WUSA9 has reached out to Geldart's office but so far no responses.
Meanwhile, Ramos' family has created a GoFundMe to help raise money for funeral expenses. To donate, click on this link.
Adela Martinez-Ramos said the family plans to file a lawsuit down the road.
The recent crash is sparking concerns from city leaders wanting safer streets for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Most recently, an ANC commissioner created a new data map that pinpoints by block and street where crashes have occurred in the District.