A James City County (Virginia) Firefighter is charged with reckless driving after police say he failed to obey a red light while driving a fire engine, causing a crash with a septic truck and injuring four people, including himself. Firefighter Christopher D’Annibale, 32, was driving the engine to a structure fire in the 9500 block of Richmond Road Sunday when the engine was hit by a septic truck at Anderson’s Corner.
The fire apparatus was entering the intersection of Rochambeau Drive and Richmond Road to continue west on Richmond Road, toward the fire, when the septic truck hit it. The septic truck was traveling through the intersection, and had a green light…the fire apparatus had a red light.
Although the fire apparatus had its lights and sirens activated, the truck is still required to “yield the right of way at traffic signals” according to the cops.
It was confirmed the Anderson’s Corner intersection has an Opticom – a device that automatically changes the traffic lights in favor of the emergency vehicle entering the intersection. Despite the Opticom, officials confirmed the septic truck had a green light and the fire apparatus did not at the time of the crash. Officials could not comment on the Opticom’s function during the Sunday crash, but said in general, the system is a “tool” used by firefighters, but not “something we ultimately depend on.”
The crash is also under internal investigation by the JCCFD.