A driver is in critical condition and three firemen were injured Tuesday morning while responding to an accident on the U.S. 20 bypass near Mayflower Road.
Just after 4:30 a.m. St. Joseph County police were called to a crash involving three cars . Three people were taken to the hospital for their injuries.
One driver in critical condition
Medical staff determined that the injuries to driver Joseph Quick, 61, of South Bend were consistent with being hit by another vehicle while standing outside of his car. Quick is listed in critical condition with head, spinal and leg injuries.
At this time, investigators believe that another vehicle struck Quick and then left the scene. Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact Major Dean Chandler at 235-9611.
Fire engine seriously damaged
While on their way to the scene, officials say Southwest Territory Fire Engine 41 was rear-ended by a semi-trailer that was hauling containers of pickles. Three firemen were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The semi driver wasn’t hurt.
Battalion Chief Charlie Lawson of the Center Twp Fire Dept. said those firefighters have been treated and released.
“That’s the closest we’ve came to something like that and I’ve been doing this for 28 years and it’s the first time we’ve had a truck taken out on the bypass,” Chief Lawson said.
The department does not know the full extent of the damages but if it’s totaled, Lawson said a replacement engine could run upwards of half a million dollars.
Sgt. William Redman of the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Dept. said the incident serves as a warning for drivers to look out for emergency personnel on the roads.
“If you see emergency personnel up ahead, that’s even more reason to slow down even more,” Sgt. Redman said. “Sometimes were out on these scenes and people don’t even slow down when we’re out there and that puts all of us at risk and all we’re trying to do it secure the scene.”
These crashes shut down the eastbound lanes of the bypass between Mayflower and S.R. 2 for several hours but were fully reopened as of 8:30 a.m.
Police remind drivers to avoid the U.S. 20 bypass when the weather is bad. The falling snow and strong winds lead to slick conditions and multiple crashes and slide offs making it even more of a danger.
If you witnessed these crashes – the St. Joseph County Police Dept. is asking you to call Major Dean Chandler at (574) 235-9611.