Thursday, September 16, 2021

4 Denton police, fire vehicles struck in two weeks

Over the course of about two weeks, three crashes have involved Denton public safety vehicles, damaging four city vehicles and one University of North Texas Police Department vehicle.

Just after 9 a.m. on July 18, officers were working a crash on southbound I-35E at the Teasley Road exit when a driver struck an unoccupied patrol vehicle, according to a news release from the Denton Police Department. No one was seriously injured in the crash, but the patrol vehicle is no longer operable.

On July 30, officers were working a crash at the intersection of South Carroll Boulevard and West Sycamore Street. Both a UNT PD patrol vehicle and a Denton PD patrol vehicle were being used to block lanes of South Carroll for the safety of drivers and the officers working the crash, according to the news release. At 2:41 a.m., a silver sedan traveling south on Carroll struck the UNT police car and then the Denton PD vehicle. Neither the driver nor any officers were injured during this crash, but both vehicles sustained damage. The 29- year-old male driver was arrested at the scene for Driving While Intoxicated.

On Monday, Denton Fire Department personnel were responding to a grass fire and had two vehicles – Engine 4 and Quint 5 – blocking the southbound lanes of I-35 just north of Elm Street. At 11:44 p.m., a tractor-trailer struck Engine 4 at the driver’s door, losing control but continuing to travel. The tractor-trailer then struck Quint 5 on the front bumper, veered into the grass median, and rolled onto the driver’s side, according to DPD. The truck driver was extricated and transported to a local hospital with a severe head injury. A firefighter, who was in the driver’s seat of Engine 4 at the time of the crash, was also transported with non-life-threatening injuries. Diesel fuel spilled from the tractor-trailer, causing the southbound service road to be closed for several hours. Engine 4 sustained heavy damage, while Quint 5 received minor damage. The crash posed extreme danger to DFD personnel and nearly caused catastrophic damage to another fire apparatus.

Texas law requires drivers to move over a lane or slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement, tow trucks, utility service vehicles, TxDOT vehicles or other highway construction or maintenance vehicles using visual signals or flashing lights activated on the roadside. On roadways with posted speed limits of 25 mph or less, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 mph.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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