by John B. Carpenter, Rhea County Herald News posted December 15, 2005 A Rhea County volunteer firefighter remains with his unit during an investigation into the incident in which an 11-month-old baby died in a tragic motor vehicle accident Sunday afternoon. It happened after a county fire engine struck the mini van his father was driving. Ricky Pilcher, 47, of Sidney Lane, Dayton, was driving his 2005 Chevrolet Uplander east on Old Washington Highway Sunday, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Harrison. Mr. Pilchers only passenger was his son, Devon, 11 months, who was riding in a child safety seat in the vans middle seat, on the drivers side. Charles Dusty Roberts, 31, of White Oak Road, was driving a 1980 Mack fire truck belonging to the Frazier Fire Department south on White Oak Road. Roberts and his passenger, Darrell King of Cottonport Road, were just returning from the funeral of Roberts grandfather, Albert Charles Roberts, who was the founder of the Frazier Fire Department. Mr. Roberts stopped at the intersection of White Oak Road and Old Washington Highway and then proceeded to cross the highway, headed toward New Union Road and the Frazier Fire Department at about 4 p.m. The fire truck crashed into the drivers side of Mr. Pilchers Uplander, T-boning the van, Harrison said. Mr. Pilcher, who was wearing his seatbelt, only received a bloody nose when his vans airbags inflated. His son, however, was thrown from his car seat and suffered extensive injuries, according to Harrison. The baby was transported to T.C. Thompson Childrens Hospital in Chattanooga by LifeForce medical helicopter but died late Sunday night. Mr. Roberts suffered no injuries, and Mr. King refused treatment at the scene but went to Rhea Medical Center a couple of hours later where he was treated and released for injuries to his arm. Both Mr. Roberts and Mr. King told Trooper Harrison they didnt see the dark gray van until it was too late. A witness traveling behind the fire truck said it came to a complete stop before proceeding. The witness also told Harrison Pilchers van appeared to be traveling at or below the speed limit. Trooper Harrison cited Mr. Roberts for failure to yield the right of way. He said the accident is still under investigation and additional charges could be filed after consulting with the district attorneys office. Rhea County Fire Chief Billy Cranfield said Mr. Roberts will remain an active volunteer pending the outcome of the investigation. Trooper Harrison and THPs Critical Incident Response Team spent several hours at the crash site and inspecting both vehicles Tuesday. One of the things they are attempting to determine is whether the babys child safety seat malfunctioned, Trooper Harrison said.