During the early morning hours of Saturday, May 24, 2003, the Lindale Fire Department was summoned to the scene of an 18-wheeler rollover on Interstate 20 just west of Lindale, Texas. After working the initial accident, LFD remained on scene with Texas Department of Public Safety, Smith County Sherrif's Department, and Lindale Police Department to assist in traffic control until the road could be cleared.
DPS notified all agencies that a high-speed pursuit was underway and headed toward the accident scene. Because of the accident scene and the backed up traffic, DPS called off the chase, but the Chevrolet pickup continued toward the scene at a high rate of speed. "By the time the truck came over the hill it was too late...it all happened so fast.," said Caleb Middleton, one of four firefighters who escaped injury by diving into a nearby ditch. A 28 year old Smith County Sheriff's Deputy who was in front of Middleton was struck by the truck and suffered major injurys including a broken leg. He was transported by East Texas Medical Center EMS to ETMC Hospital, a level 1 trama center in Tyler. His is currently listed in stable condition. Another Lindale Police Officer suffered minor injuries when he also dove into the ditch.
After striking the deputy, the pickup hit the back of a Lindale Police Department patrol car, which hit LFD Engine 1 parked in front of it. The pickup then spun into the median where officers took the suspect into custody. The patrol car is totaled, and according to Chief Richard Bellar of the Lindale Fire Department, the engine is awaiting adjustment and inspection by a Pierce representative to see if it will be repaired or declared a total loss.