A 50-year-old, off-duty Highland firefighter was killed when he allegedly took his department’s ATV off-road response vehicle out for a spin with two other men.
According to the local newspaper, The Franklin Times, Richard Haschke, a volunteer firefighter who had just completed probation, suffered fatal blunt force trauma when he allegedly wrecked the department’s Polaris Ranger in back of the station.
The newspaper reported Haschke was not responding to any incident at the time of the crash. A one of his passengers suffered a broken arm. Haschke was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Highland police reported that Haschke entered the building using an access code know by all Highland firefighters. The two men with him were not connected with the fire department.
The newspaper reported that Haschke allegedly lost control of the vehicle, which is outfitted for firefighting with a small tank and a basket for EMS calls. Allegedly, the men with Haschke said the three had been drinking alcohol before the crash, the newspaper reported.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which investigates all ATV crashes, is looking into the wreck of the Highland vehicle, the newspaper reported.
Highland purchased the vehicle in 2008 after then presidential candidate Barack Obama made an appearance in the community, drawing massive crowds making responses nearly impossible. It’s not known if the ATV can be repaired.
Haschke was a 20-year U.S. Army veteran and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.