Driver Reaching for Phone Slams Into Florida Engine

The engine's emergency lights were activated and cones had been set up behind the apparatus.


NORTH NAPLES, Fla. -- A 26-year-old driver plowed into the back of a parked fire engine while reaching down to grab his cell phone Sunday, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said.

Sean P. Smith of Collier County suffered minor injuries and was transported to NCH Downtown Naples Hospital after the 11:20 a.m. crash on southbound Livingston Road, about a half-mile north of Immokalee Road, troopers said. The collision caused about $50,000 worth of damage to the 14-year-old North Naples Fire Department truck, while Smith's 2004 Mazda RX8 received about $10,000 in damage.

Firefighters were parked on the road after responding to a medical emergency involving a person on the ground near the sidewalk along Livingston Road, North Naples battalion chief Al Duffy said. The truck's emergency lights were activated and cones had been set up behind the truck, Duffy said.

"That's our standard operating procedure," Duffy said. "They had been on the scene for maybe five minutes before this happened."

Nobody was in the truck at the time of the crash. The truck will be removed from service and a reserve will be used in its place, Duffy said.

"That whole rear-end is going to have to be looked at," Duffy said. "The damage is extensive."

The Mazda two-door came to rest on a concrete median after rotating clockwise, its front-end destroyed. Smith faces a careless driving charge.

The crash shut down southbound traffic on Livingston Road for about a 1 1/2 hours Sunday.