Mobile, Alabama ladder truck crash
This story was on a local TV newscast last night. According to both the on-air story and the print story, several witnesses said the car ran a stop sign. Say a prayer for the crew and the victims.
Two killed as fire truck hits car, slams it into tree
Two people in a Lincoln Town Car were killed Monday morning in south Mobile when a fire truck responding to an emergency medical call collided after the car ran a stop sign, authorities said.
"The car was literally crushed," and the bodies were trapped in the wreckage, said Sortoria Lewis, who lives near the crash site.
The bodies were not freed from the mangled car until mid-afternoon, witnesses said. The bodies arrived at the Mobile office of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences at 3:15 p.m., a forensics spokesman said.
No firefighters were injured in the crash, Steve Huffman, Mobile Fire-Rescue Department spokesman, said.
Officer Eric Gallichant, a Mobile police spokesman, said Monday afternoon that the crash remained under investigation and he expects to release the names of the two victims and the driver of the fire truck today.
Gallichant said he didn't know the gender of the victims, only that they were adults. A witness told the Mobile Register that the driver of the car was a man.
Huffman and witnesses said the fire truck's emergency lights and siren were on at the time of the crash.
Witnesses told police that the fire truck, which weighs about 60,000 pounds, was traveling southbound on Navco Road at 35 to 45 mph when it struck the car at Farnell Drive, the fire department spokesman said.
Citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal privacy law, Huffman would not release details of the emergency medical call.
Huffman said fire trucks often are sent on emergency medical runs either alone or with a fire department ambulance because firefighters on the big trucks are trained to handle medical calls as well as to fight fires.
Another reason fire trucks are sent on some emergency calls is because the department has more fire trucks than ambulances, he said. In this instance, an ambulance was ahead of the fire truck, he said.
Huffman said the crash occurred shortly after 8 a.m.
Witnesses said the fire truck veered in a desperate attempt to miss the car, and after colliding, the heavy truck pushed the car about 50 feet into a tree.
"It was two hits," said Mary Louise Walker, who lives across from the accident. "It hit the car and then the next hit was into the tree."
Lewis, 24, said the driver of the Town Car pulled out in front of the oncoming fire truck.
Lewis said she had just gotten home and was standing in her yard when the crash occurred.
The fire truck was going "no faster than normal" in an emergency situation, she said.
Lewis said the driver of the fire truck appeared "devastated" by the accident.
"He was slumped against a tree in disbelief of what had happened," she said.
Walker, 65, said she was sweeping her front porch when the crash occurred.
"I heard the fire truck coming, and I could hear the siren coming real loud," Walker said. "I said, 'Lord, somebody is hurt,' and about that time I heard an impact."
Her sister, Eva Walker, 62, also witnessed the crash.
"I saw the car coming out, then the fire truck skidded a long way," Eva Walker said.
Motorists run the stop sign daily, Eva Walker said.
"I knew it was going to happen sooner or later," she said. "But one thing I can say is it was not the fireman's fault."
Lewis and others said they also frequently see people run the stop sign.
"I've been here for two years, and this is the third accident I've seen here," Lewis said.
Huffman, the fire department spokesman, said all firefighters are trained to drive fire trucks.
He described the man driving the fire truck as a veteran driver who had been promoted to driver, an official fire department position which requires experience and the passing of a fire department test.
"These fire trucks aren't going to have a real short stopping distance," Huffman said. "I've driven them before, and it's almost impossible sometimes to get people out of your way."