I was manhandled, called the K-word by a tow truck driver, says Free State paramedic

Free State paramedic Yvonne Peter, who was allegedly assaulted by a tow truck driver (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)
Free State paramedic Yvonne Peter, who was allegedly assaulted by a tow truck driver (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Bloemfontein – A Free State paramedic alleges that she was manhandled and racially insulted by a tow truck driver while responding to an accident scene on Saturday night.

- Read more: Paramedic assaulted by tow truckers racing to accident scene

Yvonne Peter, 40, told News24 on Monday that the tow truck driver was allegedly racing with her ambulance as they rushed to an accident scene on McKenzie Street, next to a railway line in Heidedal.

"When we arrived on scene, the driver approached me and told me that I almost killed them and that he would deal with me," Peter said from a hospital bed in Bloemfontein.

"He said just because I was driving an ambulance, I shouldn't think I am better than anyone else. He came back and beat me up.

"A woman who was also with the driver pulled off my weave and called me a kaffir. They disrespected me too much when they pulled off my weave. I am now scared to attend accident scenes because of what happened to me."

Peter said she was assisted by members of the Heidedal community.

"I was rushing to save a life but he constantly wanted to overtake me on the road. My primary concern was to save lives because those few minutes can determine if a person lives or dies," said an emotional Peter.

'We did not beat her'

However JP Smit of JP Towing Company denied the allegations.

"What she said is not true. She works with patients and we are working with towing vehicles. I made way for the ambulance but she pushed me off the road."

Smit said at the time of the incident he was with his wife and three children.

"I couldn't have been rushing because I was with my kids in the car – the ambulance lady stabbed my wife with a pen; we did not beat her."

Smit said his wife has opened a case of assault against Peter.

Yvonne Peter (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Second incident

Department spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said this is the second incident involving a paramedic and tow truck driver.

He said on August 6 another paramedic was hospitalised after a brawl with a tow truck driver at an accident scene.

"We are concerned because paramedics are being threatened for doing their jobs.

"Earlier this month, the tow truck drivers insisted on talking to the patients and when the paramedic wanted to do his job, they assaulted him - they wanted to tow the vehicle before anyone else could tow it, so they fought with our paramedic who suffered spinal injuries."

The paramedic was discharged last week, said Mvambi.

- Wheels24: 12 tips on how to deal with tow trucks, police in SA

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