Car slams into Mass. fire truck at crash scene
Fire officials said the truck was acting as a buffer to protect responders working a crash scene on the highway
By Brad Petrishen
Telegram & Gazette
WORCESTER, Mass. — Police warned drivers to take it slow this morning after slippery roads caused crashes and delays on numerous area highways.
In Worcester, a fire truck that was at the scene of an accident was rear-ended by an apparent chain-reaction crash involving two other vehicles. There were no reports of serious injuries in the accident, which occurred about 9:30 a.m. on an Interstate 290 ramp at Route 146.
Route 2 eastbound near Exit 31 in Leominster saw two separate crashes, causing heavy delays shortly before 7 a.m. A multi-car crash on I-290 eastbound near Holy Cross in Worcester around the same time caused backups.
"Take it slow, there is black ice out there!" state police spokesman Dustin Fitch cautioned Tuesday morning on Twitter.
Troopers at state police barracks in Leominster, Sturbridge, Millbury and Holden reported busy mornings responding to spinouts and crashes.
Sgt. Tom Poirier said troopers in Holden responded to about 14 crashes in the early morning hours, most caused by black ice at the bridges and ramps on and around the Interstate 190 and I-290 split.
Troopers also had their hands full in Millbury, Trooper Peter English said, responding to multiple crashes on Interstate 495, including a three-car crash on I-495 northbound in Hopkinton.
There were also spinouts on highway ramps, including three crashes on the ramp from I-290 westbound to 146 southbound, Trooper English said.
One of those crashes involved the Worcester fire truck. Deputy Chief John F. Sullivan said Engine 2 was struck while performing a vital duty: acting as a buffer 400 feet behind another fire truck that was responding to a crash.
"It performed exactly the way it was supposed to perform," Deputy Chief Sullivan said of the safety system, which is recommended by national first responder safety guidelines.
First responders are killed every year while tending to highway crashes, Deputy Chief Sullivan said. In this case, the driver of the buffer fire truck — the sole occupant of the vehicle — is expected to be OK after being taken to the hospital for back and neck pain.
Deputy Chief Sullivan said state police are investigating what led to the crash.
Troopers at the Sturbridge barracks responded to five crashes on Interstate 395 between about 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., Trooper Scott Shea said. And troopers based in Leominster responded to six or seven crashes between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Route 2 and I-495, Trooper Steve Crusco said.
None of the troopers reported any serious injuries from the crashes, which came somewhat unexpectedly on a snow-free morning.
"My patrol officers thought the conditions were fine," Trooper English said, noting that the Department of Transportation began treating ramps anyhow.
It appears slippery spots were patchy, as troopers at barracks in Fitchburg, Athol, New Braintree and Belchertown reported quiet mornings.
There were a couple small crashes on the Massachusetts Turnpike, Sgt. Mark Courtois said, but nothing major.