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East Tennessee parents sue Rural Metro for $5 million dollars

Published: Mar. 2, 2017 at 2:21 PM EST
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An East Tennessee couple is suing ambulance server, Rural/Metro for $5 million dollars. In an exclusive interview, they sat down with Local 8 News Anchor Alan Williams to discuss why they feel wronged.

Rick and Amy Merrell said the lawsuit was not so much about the money they're working to get, but more about the statement they're trying to make.

The Merrells lost their sons, 22-year-old Austin and 14-year-old Andy, to a horrific car accident a little more than a year ago; however, they said one of their sons could have been saved.

"I got a phone call, and I just took off," Rick Merrell said. Their son Skylar had called just after the wreck. "He said, 'Daddy, it's bad,' he said, 'come get me, daddy, it's bad, I'm hurt.'"

Rick described the accident that took his sons' lives.

"Basically, they went across the hill too fast, and then the wind caught them, and he lost control."

Their vehicle slammed into a six-foot culvert. Austin and Andy died, while Skylar and the brothers' friend Clay survived.

More than a year later, the culvert was filled in, but the skid marks still remain.

"Sometimes you dream about it," Rick said.

"Yeah, and then you wake up, and you get that adrenaline rush that, it wasn't a nightmare, it was real," Amy Merrill said.

The family decided to sue Rural/Metro for $5,000,000, saying the ambulance service could have saved 14-year-old Andy if they would have had the necessary tools to do so.

The family said the responders made a "conscious decision" to allow Andy to die, arguing that Rural/Metro declared the young boy while he still had a pulse. The family also alleged that the ambulance service failed to reach out across county lines for emergency providers who could have helped more quickly.

The Merrills said their lawsuit was about ending the possibility that this could ever happen again, more so than it was about receiving the $5,000,000.

"It comes in waves," Rick said. "It never leaves your mind. It's with you in everything you do."