A firefighter and a sheriff’s deputy suffered injuries in a chain-reaction crash being blamed on a tractor-trailer driver who failed to slow down and change lanes while approaching the scene of an earlier accident. The collision between the semi, firetruck, and cruiser occurred near the McKenney Highway exit from I-85 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia (VA), shortly before 2 am on November 22, 2015.
According to investigators and eyewitnesses, the injured emergency responders were assisting with an accident in the right lane of the interstate when the tractor-trailer struck the fire vehicle from behind. That impact sent the firetruck into the cruiser. The semi operator never reduced speed and appears to have made little effort to move over into the open left lane. He also sustained serious injuries, and his big rig destroyed a guardrial after careening away from the firetruck.
The trucker has been charged with reckless driving and may face other legal consequences. That indicates that law enforcement officials believe he acted with wanton disregard for the safety and health of others. He may have been traveling well above the posted speed limit, falling asleep behind the wheel or too distracted to recognize and avoid the dangerous situation. Each would, by intent or result, leave him unable to protect other people on the road.
Whatever the ultimate explanation, his actions sent several people to the hospital and could have proved deadly. Sadly, dozens of emergency responders and road crew members lose their lives each year when negligent and reckless drivers fail to give them adequate space and time.