Two ambulances used by the Cole County Emergency Medical Service were temporarily taken out of commission earlier this month.
Both of the emergency vehicles broke down after the drivers hit a curb, causing the ball joints to break, according to Cole County Ambulance Director Matt Lindewirth.
According to Lindewirth, the part that broke on both vehicles was an aftermarket ball joint installed by the former maintenance service provider for the county, On-Site Oil Change.
The same part was previously installed on a third ambulance, but has been replaced as a precaution.
Lindewirth said it’s unclear if the aftermarket part was solely to blame for the crippled ambulances, but also said ambulances routinely hit curbs and medians while navigating through close traffic situations.
Neither ambulance malfunction occurred while it was in an emergency situation, according to Lindewirth.
Cole County EMS changed its maintenance service provider to Donnie Braun & Sons Auto Repair in early 2019. However, Lindewirth would not comment on why the change was made.
The two ambulances that broke down have since been repaired and are back in service, Lindewirth said. The third vehicle on which the part is being replaced as a preventative measure is expected to be back in service Wednesday afternoon.