RACCOON TWP. - Raccoon Township police are expected to file charges today against a volunteer firefighter who was driving a firetruck when it struck and killed another firefighter last week.
Frank Brocklebank, 40, of Raccoon is to be charged with an accident involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed, Raccoon Police Chief David Garber said Monday. The charge is a third-degree felony.
Firefighter David Vinisky, a 49-year-old Raccoon resident, was killed and firefighter Jim Davidson, 52, of Raccoon, was injured when Brocklebank backed a pumper truck into them on Wednesday.
Davidson was treated for cuts and bruises and released from Aliquippa Community Hospital after the accident. Garber said Brocklebank's license to operate the truck was suspended for medical reasons. The chief said he did not know why Brocklebank's license was suspended or when.
PennDOT officials said they could not release any information on Brocklebank because of privacy laws.
Hopewell Area School District Superintendent Terry Mack said Brocklebank was employed as a school bus driver but hasn't driven for at least a year. Mack declined to explain why Brocklebank no longer drives for the district.
Garber said he was "not happy" to file charges but that police had an obligation to investigate the circumstances surrounding Vinisky's death. "We do understand that this is a tragic accident, but the scenario does meet the elements of a crime," Garber said.
Vinisky and Davidson were behind the new truck and looking at a digital camera that was being used to photograph it when Brocklebank got in the cab, checked the mirrors and began backing up.
Although the truck's warning beeper sounded when it began backing up, Vinisky and Davidson didn't move and both were knocked down.
Vinisky was struck in the head by a tire on the truck while Davidson grasped the bumper to keep from being run over, Garber said. Brocklebank stopped the truck when he heard screams.
Raccoon Fire Chief Bert Failor declined to comment on charges being filed against Brocklebank. Brocklebank, Davidson and David Vinisky's brother, Drew, could not be reached for comment.