A James City County (Virginia) Firefighter has been charged with reckless driving after police say he failed to obey a red light while driving an engine company, causing a crash with a septic truck. The crash injuring four people, one seriously, including himself. Firefighter Christopher D’Annibale, 32, was driving the engine to a structure fire last Sunday when the engine was hit by that septic truck in an intersection.
The fire apparatus was entering the intersection, responding to the fire, when the septic truck hit it. The septic truck was traveling through the intersection, and had a green light…the fire apparatus had a red light.
Although the fire apparatus had its lights and sirens activated, the truck is still required to “yield the right of way at traffic signals” according to the cops.
It was confirmed the intersection has an Opticom – a device that automatically changes the traffic lights in favor of the emergency vehicle entering the intersection. Despite the Opticom, officials confirmed the septic truck still had the green light and the fire apparatus did not at the time of the crash. Officials could not comment about the Opticom’s function during the Sunday crash, but said in general, the system is a “tool” used by firefighters, but not “something we ultimately depend on.”
The crash is also under internal investigation by the JCCFD.
Another tough reminder to us all regarding response, vehicle control and intersections.