Driver amazed to have survived crash with Austin fire truck

AFD firetruck collides with car in Del Valle (Reportit submitted photo from 'Zach')
AFD firetruck collides with car in Del Valle (Reportit submitted photo from 'Zach')

DEL VALLE, Texas (KXAN) — The firefighter who was driving an Austin Fire Department fire truck that collided with a car Sunday afternoon failed to yield to the right of way, authorities say.

The department says their fire truck was involved in the crash at around 4:45 p.m. near the intersection of Elroy Road and South SH 130. A spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office says the crash report indicates the fire truck stopped at a stop sign but failed to yield to a car as it went through the intersection. When the two vehicles collided, the fire truck landed on top of the sedan’s hood.

Deputies added that no tickets were issued at the scene. AFD says the truck was not on its way to a call. It was a standby truck that was leaving an assignment at the Circuit of the Americas.

One person in the car was checked by Austin-Travis County EMS medics at the scene, but refused treatment.

KXAN spoke with Adam Dunn who said he was the person driving the sedan at the time of the crash.

“He almost ran me over, his front bumper and his front grill were literally in my passenger seat and they had to peel my car out before I could move the truck back,” Dunn said of the fire truck. The car he was driving was totaled, the engine and airbags ruptured and the front passenger side of the car mostly compacted by the crash. Dunn didn’t have any passengers and said he feels fortunate to have survived.

“I guess just watch where you’re going cause this could have killed me, I mean I’m lucky to be alive right now,”  Dunn said. “This car is mangled, I don’t know how I walked out of this without death or other injuries.”

Dunn had bruises and cuts on his arms, but otherwise remains uninjured. The car he was driving belongs to his friend Zachary Wallace who was driving 15 minutes behind when the crash happened. Wallace said when he arrived at the crash scene, Dunn was bleeding.

“I cried, this just doesn’t feel real, it didn’t feel real to see a fire truck attached to my car,” Wallace said. He could barely recognize his car after the damage it sustained.

Wallace is thankful his friend is alive, but keeps thinking about ways the collision could have been prevented.

“Please drive safe, something like this could cost someone their life, something like this could take someone’s child, something like this could take someone’s husband, please drive better,” Wallace said.

This crash follows a zero-tolerance policy implemented by AFD Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr in October 2016 aimed at reducing the department’s collisions with other vehicles or fixed objects.

The plan appears to be paying off, seeing such incidents drop by more than a third since the policy began, according to analysis by KXAN in early March 2017. If AFD employees violate the policy, they can face suspensions and have pay docked.

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