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Jury Decides Not to Indict SUV Driver in Rollover Crash that Killed Two Firefighters

A grand jury has decided not to indict the driver of an SUV that crashed into a fire truck in Rocky Mount (VA) last year killing two firefighters.

 

The firefighters killed were Vice-Mayor Posey Dillon and William Altice.

 

The deaths of emergency workers in the line of duty are always shocking and our thoughts are with their families and the community.

 

In July 2010 the fire truck was involved in a crash at an intersection with an SUV. A Ford Escape coming from School Board Road entered the intersection at Old Franklin Turnpike and collided with the fire truck.

The fire truck hit a curb and went airborne, rolled at least three times, and landed on top of a west-bound Mustang convertible.

According to Franklin Co. (VA) Commonwealth's Attorney Cliff Hapgood, the grand jury returned four "no true bills," on Jan. 21, which means the grand jury did not find enough evidence for an indictment, WSLS 10 reported.

Investigators had been seeking indictments against the driver on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, and failure to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle. The fire truck had its lights flashing and sirens sounding, the Franklin News Post reported.

Investigators found both vehicles entered the intersection at the same time. Robert Carpentieri, with State Police's Salem Division, says a Ford Escape had the green light and entered intersection at same time as fire truck entered intersection.

 

All vehicles, including emergency vehicles are at risk of rolling over in traffic accidents.  The frequency of rollovers of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles appear to be increasing at an alarming rate.

 

Crashes involving fire trucks are the second biggest cause of deaths to firefighters, according to a Virginia Tech study.

 

Two years ago our firm reported on how a firefighter suffered serious head injuries when his fire truck was hit by a school bus in Raleigh (NC).

 

Virginia has a number of laws intended to protect emergency services personnel including the move over law. This makes it an offense for drivers to fail to move over or slow down when passing an emergency vehicle.

 

This video from 2009 from the Raleigh Fire Department in Raleigh (NC) shows how a fire truck crashed when it turned too quickly at an intersection. Fortunately none of the firefighters were seriously injured. The video, taken from a red light camera, like those used in Virginia Beach (VA) and Newport News (VA) will be used to train firefighters on the pitfalls at intersections

DM

 

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