Wash. firefighter not charged for fatal fire truck crash

The driver of the rig struck and killed a man riding a scooter last July; there wasn't enough evidence to prove any crime

Kitsap Sun

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — The Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office won't file criminal charges against the North Kitsap firefighter who was driving a fire engine that struck and killed a 48-year-old Kingston man July 4.

Jason T. Foster was killed when a North Kitsap Fire and Rescue engine, turning from Miller Bay Road to West Kingston Road, collided with his 2006 Yamaha YP400 Majesty scooter.

Kitsap County Prosecutor Tina Robinson evaluated the case and "determined there was not sufficient evidence to prove that any crime had been committed," according to a news release from the Prosecutor's Office.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chad Enright said investigators found evidence the engine driver had used marijuana in the days or weeks before wreck, but it was "nothing that would impact his ability to drive."

The driver — who was part of the district's volunteer firefighter internship program — left in October to take a position with American Medical Response in Seattle, said Fire Chief Dan Smith. AMR is a private ambulance company.

The fire district conducted its own investigation, separate from that conducted by the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office.

District policy, which prohibits on-duty impairment from any substance, was not violated with the "presence of inactive legal substances," Smith said. Because no policies or procedures were violated, no disciplinary action was required, he said.

The district's drug-use policy is under review as part of a countywide update following marijuana legalization, but even earlier policies would not have altered the investigation because only nonactive levels of marijuana were found in the driver's blood, Smith said.

The district can require alcohol and drug-use testing on its employees and volunteers for pre-employment testing and when officials have a reasonable suspicion of impairment, among other reasons.

The driver still could face a traffic citation — likely for failure to stay right of the centerline, which is a $175 fine — although no final decision has been made, sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Ken Dickinson said.

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