NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.-- A North Charleston ladder truck with lights on and sirens blaring barreled down Rivers Avenue responding to a call. Unfortunately, the engine would never get there.
An eye witness says the driver of this white van, Kirkland Springs, 43, of North Charleston, cut in front of the speeding truck leaving behind a trail of debris.
The crash injured four people including three firefighters.
As of 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Springs was dealing with life threatening injuries at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Rich Malaguti stood just a few feet from where the two vehicles collided.
He says the images are hard to forget.
"It makes you believe in God. You never know when it's your time. No words can explain it, it's something you won't forget," Malaguti said.
He rushed to the van to check on the driver along with a nurse who happened to be in the area.
Malaguti described what he saw.
"The guy was crumbled up like a pretzel behind the seats, it was bad," he said.
The three firefighters in the truck were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Fire officials say this truck can travel 60 mph at it's fastest.
At this point, there is no telling how fast they were going during the crash.
Battalion Chief Greg Bulanow says an accident involving emergency responders is rare.
"Our drivers are professional and very well trained and they drive very carefully," Bulanow explained.
Investigators spent hours reconstructing the scene while crews worked to clear the roadway.
The North Charleston fire department says the ladder truck driver did what he could to alert the driver.
Malaguti agrees with that statement.
"They were doing nothing wrong, there was no traffic and I know the guy tried at the last second to do what he could," Malaguti added.
The three firefighters injured in the wreck have all been treated and released.
Republished with permission of WCIV-TV.