Mike Wilbur

UPDATE: TROOPERS CLAIM ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FL FIRE ENGINE FAILED TO YIELD RIGHT OF WAY IN CRASH

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. — The investigation continues Wednesday after Florida Highway Patrol says a firetruck crashed into a car.

It happened on North W Street and Mobile Highway.

FHP says the driver of the car was hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Escambia County told WEAR News, that firetruck was heading to reports of a fire on Boeing Street at the time of the incident.

Legally drivers have to yield to emergency responders, but investigators say those first responders also have a duty to avoid hitting drivers.

With the trucks lights and sirens on, video footage shows the Escambia County fire truck T-bone the driver.

Florida Highway Patrol’s report says the fire truck was at fault saying the driver “failed to yield right of way to oncoming traffic after attempting to clear the intersection while running lights and sirens.”

“We’re saying ‘hey, we’re here’ with our lights and sirens. We know we have a red light, we’re requesting to proceed through the intersection, and we have to make sure as we clear each lane of travel — including the crosswalks — that there’s no pedestrian traffic or vehicle traffic going,” FHP Lt. Jason King said.

FHP also claimed an ambulance was to blame for a different crash captured on video back in March.

In that case, investigators claimed with the rain, the truck couldn’t see the ambulance abruptly stop and turn across the median.

Lieutenant King tells WEAR News the at-fault first responder won’t always receive a ticket.

“What we do different through our course of investigation is typically, we will not issue a citation to an at-fault ambulance driver, firetruck driver, or police driver if they are in credible emergency mode responding to a scene or to an emergency need that requires them to respond that way,” King said.

Overall, King says crashes involving first responders don’t happen often.

Escambia County Fire Rescue says they respond to an average of over 50 emergencies daily — meaning there’s a good chance you encounter Fire Rescue and EMS.

The chief shared a document highlighting the ways drivers can follow Florida law by slowing down and moving over around emergency vehicles like their fire trucks.

In the meantime — the county tells WEAR News they’re conducting an investigation into this crash.

“Just know that we’re going to treat every crash investigation the same,” King said. “We’re going to be a neutral party investigating a crash and holding people accountable.”

FHP says none of the firefighters were injured in the crash.

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