This story is from the Laporte Herald Argus.

Downtown disaster
11/27/2007, 10:12 am
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Derek Smith, 1-866-362-2167 Ext. 13863 ,

Teen who allegedly failed to yield for fire truck gets slammed at corner of Clay and Lincoln Way

LA PORTE -- A crowd of spectators looked on as four firefighters and an EMS technician lifted the stretcher -- and the man it carried -- from the cold, wet pavement.

Moments earlier, the man had to be pulled free from the burgundy Buick he drove, the smashed remnants of the vehicle surrounded by bits of shattered glass and other debris.

The damage was caused by a collision with a La Porte fire truck just after 11 a.m. Monday.

The fire truck was eastbound on Lincoln Way when it struck the Buick at Lincoln Way and Clay Street.

It was on its way to a structural fire in the 400 block of Jefferson Avenue, La Porte City Fire Chief Andy Snyder told The La Porte County Herald-Argus.

The car was traveling north through the intersection on Clay Street. The driver’s identity was not released as of this morning, but his age is 19.

Following the impact, the Buick in turn struck the front driver’s side of a green Pontiac Grand Prix, which was stopped at a red light on Lincoln Way.

The impact forced the Pontiac to slide to the curb.

“It happened fast, so fast,” the Pontiac’s driver, Lisa Carr, told The Herald-Argus just moments after the accident.

Watching from the sidewalk on Lincoln Way’s south side, Carr said she was still in shock and seemed not to notice the ice-cold rain drizzling overhead.

“He didn’t stop for the sirens,” Carr said about the driver of the Buick. “(The fire truck) just barreled through.”

Carr’s son, Chris Owens, was a passenger in his mother’s vehicle at the time of the crash. He said he got out of the car to check on the two people in the Buick before La Porte County EMS arrived.

While the male passenger, 18, appeared uninjured, Owens said the driver was unconscious.

Both were responsive, however, by the time EMS arrived on scene, Snyder said.

Police said this morning that both teens in the Buick were not seriously injured.

The driver had to be extricated from the vehicle, and emergency responders had to stabilize his spine before he could be transported to the EMS vehicle.

Traffic was halted on Lincoln Way from Jackson to Monroe streets while the area was cleared.

The truck has to be sent back to its manufacturer for repairs, which likely won’t be completed in the near future, La Porte Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Kanney told The Herald-Argus.

Although one truck is out of commission, Kanney said it shouldn’t cut down on the department’s response time -- the department operates four trucks with a fifth truck as a backup vehicle. The department can also use equipment from other departments.

“Michigan City has offered us a truck if need be, so we have all of our i’s dotted and t’s crossed,” Kanney said.