Greenbelt Fire Engines Out of Commission Following Beltway Crash
Greenbelt's firefighters were tending to an accident on the beltway when a Lexus slammed into their fire engine, according to a fire department official.
A 2005 Lexus slammed into a Greenbelt fire engine while firefighters were tending to a vehicle accident on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway, according to Mark Brady, Prince George's County Fire/EMS spokesman. While the Lexus was being cleared, another vehicle slammed into it, barely missing firefighters, Brady said.
The Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department was using its fire engine as barrier protection for civilians, emergency personnel, and units from Greenbelt, West Lanham Hills and Berwyn Heights, which were working on the initial beltway crash between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Rt. 295) and the Annapolis Rd. (Rt. 450) interchanges.
Brady said the driver of the 2005 Lexus showed disregard for warning lights and slammed into the rear and side of Greenbelt's fire engine, at around 2:45 a.m.
"If the Greenbelt engine had not been positioned to provide barrier protection there surely would have been serious, if not fatal injuries, to emergency personnel and civilians at the scene of the original crash," Brady said.
The driver of the Lexus was taken into custody by Maryland State Police and was charged with numerous traffic violations and was to be tested for impairment, according to Brady.
A short time later, a second vehicle, also apparently oblivious to all emergency warning lights, struck the Lexus and narrowly missed hitting firefighters, according to Brady. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene, but was stopped by numerous law enforcement officers about a half mile down the road, Brady reported.
Brady said that driver also was charged with numerous traffic violations and was being tested for impairment.
Neither incident was the fire engine driver's fault, according to Brady.
Brady said damages to Greenbelt's engine are in excess of $30,000. But it is not the only Greenbelt fire engine out of commission.
The department's second engine was damaged significantly and two firefighters were injured in a crash on Saturday, Sept. 1, because a vehicle failed to yield right-of-way, Brady said.
Greenbelt firefighters must now rely on a reserve or borrowed fire engine until theirs are repaired.
The crash into Greenbelt's fire apparatus is the second time this month that a fire engine was struck by a vehicle while providing barrier protection for emergency personnel and civilians. On Aug. 18, a Branchville Fire/EMS Station engine was struck on the Capital Beltway.
"I often hear from motorists when they question why the Fire/EMS Department blocks an extra lane or more of traffic on crash scenes," Brady said. "I tell them we're saving lives. Once again, 'barrier protection' has been the difference between going to a funeral and going to the repair shop."