'Communication issues' hindered efforts to reach collapsed Skyway 10K runner

Justin Doyle died after suffering a cardiac event during the Skyway 10K

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue said confusion between dispatchers and paramedics lead to the delay in getting an ambulance to a man who had collapsed during the Skyway 10K.

"The result of our post-incident analysis revealed communication issues," said Ian Womack, the head of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue's EMS division.

Representatives from six agencies, including Pinellas County dispatchers and Manatee County EMS, filed into St. Pete's Master Station for a two-hour meeting to figure out what went wrong. 

Afterward, only St. Pete Fire Rescue personnel offered to speak publicly. They said after Justin Doyle collapsed near mile-marker five during Sunday's Skyway 10k, dispatchers and paramedics couldn't figure out if he was at the race's mile-five or the bridge's mile-five, which are seven miles apart.

"Emergency personnel moved through heavy pedestrian traffic across at least four miles of the bridge without success locating the patient," said Womack.

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In the meantime, other runners, some with medical training, had stopped to give Justin CPR. They recall frantically trying to get ambulances, which were within eyesight, to respond. They even saw a motorcycle officer trying to bring paramedics over. 

Officials did not weigh in on that after the meeting, saying details would be in a report, to be issued soon.

"It was very frustrating as a bystander watching and not understanding what we could have done differently to have possibly gotten him help any quicker," said Elizabeth Wulff, who stopped to help Doyle.

They loaded him onto a school bus in hopes of getting help faster. 

St. Pete Fire Rescue says that may have inadvertently delayed help because there was confusion over which bus he was in and there were 400 buses on site being used to bring finished runners back to parking lots at Tropicana Field.

Pictures with timestamps provided to FOX 13 show he was transferred to an ambulance at least 24 minutes after 911 was called. It's unclear if a faster rescue would have saved Justin, who died of a heart attack.

"We want to thank bystanders for their tremendous efforts," said Womack. "We are deeply saddened by the passing of the individual and said our condolences to the family."

St. Pete Fire Rescue would not answer questions about the details of what happened, but said a report describing everything will be written and released in the coming weeks.