A crash occurred between a city fire engine and a passenger car in downtown Chicago yesterday afternoon, leaving the driver and a passenger in the car critically injured. The collision occurred in the intersection of Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive around 3:30 p.m. as the fire crew was responding to a call.
Early reports indicate that the car had the green light and the right-of-way but that most traffic stopped as the fire engine approached with its lights and sirens sounding. The fire engine entered the intersection against the light and collided with the car which resulted in the car being pushed onto the sidewalk and into a parked car.
The damage done to the car was so great that both the driver and the passenger were trapped inside. Emergency crews had to remove both women from the vehicle before they could be transported to a local hospital for treatment.
When they arrived at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, both women were listed in serious to critical condition but both have since improved and stabilized. They are alert and able to talk at this time. Fortunately no fire fighters were injured in the collision and the fire engine reportedly sustained only minor damage.
In a collision between a passenger car and a fire engine or other large truck, the people inside the car are always at a high risk for serious injury. The size and weight of the engine when compared to the car means that the car is likely to receive the majority of the damage, putting the passengers at a high risk for injury.
Often collision with emergency vehicles involve high rates of speed which means a higher force upon impact. As first responders race to assist an accident, they tend to travel at speeds above the posted limit, meaning that most collisions that occurs will be significant.
The law in Illinois allows emergency vehicles the right-of-way when their lights and sirens are sounding. However the law is also very clear that the granted right-of-way does not absolve a driver of an emergency vehicle from the requirement to drive with due regard for the safety of other drivers on the road. In practice, ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars who intend to enter an intersection against a light or other traffic control device should always make sure it is safe to do so first. In this case it appears that the driver of the fire engine saw the car in the intersection but was not able to stop in time to avoid a collision. It remains unclear whether the driver of the car saw or heard the fire engine approaching before she entered the intersection.
No driver, including an emergency vehicle responding to an accident, has the right to drive in an unsafe manner that threatens others on the road. Doing so may cause a collision that results in property damage, personal injuries, or even death and a negligent driver may be held liable for any damages he causes.
If you have been injured in an accident with an emergency response vehicle, including a fire truck, ambulance, or police car, call the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation. At Abels & Annes, P.C., you will get to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who will discuss your accident, injuries, and what claims you may have. We have a lawyer standing by so please call us now at (312) 924-7575 or (855) 529-2442.
Prior Blog Entries:
Mookie Blaylock, Former NBA Star, Faces Charges in Fatal Car Crash, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published June 3, 2013.
Driver Gets 10 Year Prison Sentence for Road-Rage and DUI Crash that Killed Biker, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published June 3, 2013.
2 hurt after car and fire engine accident in the Loop, by Carlos Sadovi, Chicago Tribune, published June 3, 2013.