Alleged Drunken Driver Hits Colo. Ladder Truck

AURORA, Colo. --

Police suspect drinking and driving caused a driver to sideswipe two cars and slam head-on into a 68,000-pound Aurora fire truck on Wednesday evening.

The head-on collision with the Toyota car dislodged the fire truck's axle from its frame and locked up its front tires, knocking the truck out of service, said Aurora police Lt. Chuck DeShazer.

The uninjured firefighters helped extricate the unidentified female driver from the damaged Toyota and gave her medical care until she was transported with two broken bones to a hospital, DeShazer said.

The crash happened about 5:15 PM as the ladder truck was responding with lights and siren to an incident where a car struck a pedestrian at East Sixth Avenue and Havana Street, he said.

The fire truck was traveling westbound on 6th Avenue and eastbound traffic was backed up from Del Mar Circle because of traffic congestion, DeShazer said.

The woman in the gold Toyota was driving east on Sixth when she overtook the backed up traffic and moved into the painted median and into the path of the oncoming fire truck, he said.

As the driver tried to steer back into the eastbound lanes to avoid the fire truck, she sideswiped two cars which were stopped in traffic, DeShazer said. The force of the sideswipe accident caused the Toyota to cross into the westbound lanes, directly in front of the fire truck.

The Toyota and the fire truck collided head-on, he said. The damage to the fire truck caused it to veer left, striking the rear of a car that had been sideswiped by the Toyota.

The fire crew members were unhurt, but had to be checked out at the hospital as a routine precaution, DeShazer said. The people in the two cars that were sideswiped were not injured.

Investigators believe alcohol contributed to the Toyota driver's behavior, he said. The woman consented to a blood test and the analysis is pending.

The incident did not negatively impact services provided by the Aurora Fire Department, DeShazier said. The pedestrian hit by the car at Sixth and Havana suffered non-life threatening leg injuries.

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