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Family of man killed in 2018 crash with DC fire truck sues department

D.C. police said a driver of a car has died after being struck by a fire truck at the intersection of 12th Street and Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast on Friday, March 9, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

The family of a driver who died in a crash with a speeding fire truck is suing D.C.’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services department.

The wreck that killed 32-year-old Deangelo Green happened March 9, 2018, near the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and 12th Street in Northeast D.C., while a fire engine was responding to an emergency.

Representing T’Anita Coles-Green, attorney Bill Lightfoot told WTOP the family should be compensated for the loss of the father and husband. To assure something like the wreck doesn’t happen again, Lightfoot said fire department drivers should go to classroom training in the training academy.

“The fire department has grossly inadequate training of drivers,” Lightfoot said, adding that they should “be trained consistent with standards promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.” 

The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia declined to comment.

In February, D.C. police released a report on the wreck that stated the fire engine was traveling nearly 55 mph in a 30 mph zone before the crash.

When that report came out, D.C. Fire released a statement saying the department has reinforced its established rules for using red lights and sirens under emergency conditions and trained all members on the protocols. The department also revoked the driving authority of the firefighter involved in the wreck.

“That’s after the crash in this case, so it was too late to save Mr. Green, because the driver in this truck had not been trained,” Lightfoot said. “But even with the training they’re doing now, we understand it is substandard now. There’s classroom course work that these drivers are supposed to take, not just get into a truck and drive in between pylons and turn corners.”

The police investigation on the crash found Green was intoxicated and at fault for failing to yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle.

Lightfoot believes the police investigation was one-sided and left out facts. He disputes, for example, diagrams made of the accident scene.

“There are cars in every lane of traffic when the fire truck entered that intersection. But the diagram by the police department only shows one car in the intersection,” Lightfoot said.

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