Ky. fire chief recounts harrowing fire truck crash

Smiths Grove Assistant Chief Steven Wilson said he jumped into a ditch and watch the tractor-trailer slide above him


By Gina Kinslow
Glasgow Daily Times

SMITHS GROVE, Ky. — Steven Wilson escaped a serious crash on Sunday morning involving a tractor-trailer and a fire truck with only a few cuts and scrapes, but he could have been hurt much worse.

The Smiths Grove Volunteer Fire Department responded to three collisions on Interstate 65 that morning, which had occurred due to icy road conditions.

The fire department’s 2006 Kenworth rescue truck was parked on the shoulder of the interstate. Wilson, assistant chief of the fire department, was standing beside the fire department’s rescue truck with fire chief Kenneth Priddy, waiting for the state police to arrive on the scene.

“We were outside the vehicle standing on the passenger side. I saw the semi spinning and starting to lose control and then he started coming toward us,” Wilson said.

Both firefighters began to run when they saw the tractor-trailer coming toward them, but they didn’t make it very far before the tractor-trailer struck the fire rescue truck.

“I just went into a ditch and saw the semi go across the top of me,” Wilson said.

According to a Kentucky State Police press release regarding the crash, Kumar Amandeep, 33, of West Hill, California was driving the 2017 Freightliner tractor-trailer in the southbound lane when the cab of the tractor-trailer separated from the trailer and overturned, striking Priddy and Wilson.

Wilson admitted he was scared.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it that day,” he said.

Wilson has been with the fire department for 20 years and said the crash on Sunday morning was the first time he has had such a close encounter on the interstate.

Wilson crawled out of the ditch on his own and continued to do his duty as a volunteer firefighter by checking on others who had been involved in previous collisions on the interstate, before others encouraged him to seek medical attention.

Wilson was transported to the Medical Center in Bowling Green by the Medical Center Emergency Medical Service for non-life-threatening injuries.

“I had some abrasions and some scratches,” he said.

Priddy and Amandeep were not injured, said the state police’s press release.

The fire truck involved in the crash was totaled. It was one the fire department had been able to purchase with money generated from fire dues and was used specifically for responding to crashes, Wilson said.

Inside the fire truck was the fire department’s Jaws of Life, a saw used in extricating people from wreckage. Since the fire department’s Jaws of Life saw was damaged in the crash, a fire supply company has loaned the fire department a saw to use when responding to crashes.

The fire department has also moved some of its trucks around at its fire stations to make sure it is fully equipped to respond to emergencies, Wilson said.

Copyright 2016 the Glasgow Daily Times

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