Phoenix fire truck drove up to 29 mph above the speed limit at time of deadly crash, report says
PHOENIX — A Phoenix fire engine was traveling approximately 29 mph over the speed limit at the time of a deadly crash in April 2019, according to the police investigation released Wednesday.
The report, released more than nine months after the crash, also said the other vehicle's driver, Kenneth "Chase" Collins, 20, did not possess a valid driver's license and had marijuana in his system. Collins turned left in front of the engine, which was operating with lights and siren activated, according to the report. Police investigators did not specify which driver was at fault for the crash, and they did not recommend criminal charges.
Phoenix Fire Engine 18 was on an emergency call on April 7 when it crashed into Collins' pickup truck on Bethany Home Road at 29th Avenue. The engine rolled over into a schoolyard, and the pickup was crushed. Collins, his girlfriend, Dariana Serrano, 19, and their infant son, Kenneth, all died in the pickup. All three firefighters on the engine were injured.
The speed limit on the stretch of Bethany Home Road was 40 miles per hour. The fire engine's "black box" indicated the truck was going 69 miles per hour just before the crash. Police accident reconstructionists indicate the speed at impact was 61 miles per hour. Phoenix Fire Department policy instructs engineers to not exceed 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while responding to emergencies.
On July 3, relatives of the deceased family filed a notice of claim against the city, alleging the Phoenix Fire Department was negligent. The $25-million legal claim, filed by a lawyer representing Serrano's mother, said, "This is a tragedy that could have and should have been avoided."
Initially, Phoenix police said the fire truck was heading to a fire call at a Walmart with lights and sirens on when the pickup truck turned left in front of the firefighters. According to the family's claim, "Standard Operating Procedures dictate that the truck did not automatically have the right-of-way."
The claim states that negligence by the firefighters operating the truck and their supervisors led to the three deaths.
ABC15 learned in June that the Phoenix fire chief's nephew, Paul R. Kalkbrenner, was the driver of the fire engine involved in the crash. According to public records obtained by ABC15, Kalkbrenner was hired by the Phoenix Fire Department in 2011. He indicated that his aunt is Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner, and he has other relatives who also work for the department.
A police investigator interviewed Kalkbrenner saying the fire engineer believed the pickup was "traveling at a high rate of speed, almost as though the driver was intentionally trying to hit the fire engine." Accident reconstructionists estimated the pickup was going 10 mph. According to the police report, Kalkbrenner was given a portable breath test at the hospital five hours after the crash, but no field sobriety test was given. There is no mention of any drug toxicology tests.
According to a City of Phoenix spokesperson, Kalkbrenner and Acting Captain Robert Golden are still working in support staff functions in a non-operations role pending the internal investigation from the Phoenix Fire Department. Firefighter Geoffrey Pakis is on full duty and working back in the Operations Division.
ABC15 reached out to the Serrano and Collins family for comment, but have not received a reply.
The United Phoenix Firefighters posted the following statement about the crash on Facebook.
Report: Apparatus in crash that killed 3 was speeding
By Laura French
PHOENIX — A report released Wednesday on an apparatus crash that killed three members of a young family in April 2019 found that the Phoenix Fire Department (PFD) fire truck involved was speeding at the time of the collision.
The Phoenix Police Department report stated the fire truck was traveling at least 20 miles per hour over the speed limit when the crash occurred.
The report also revealed that the driver of the other vehicle, 20-year old Kenneth “Chase” Collins, was driving without a valid license and had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, CBS 5 reported.
The collision killed Collins, 19-year-old Dariana Serrano and their 3-month-old son, also named Kenneth.
The fire truck had its lights and sirens on when it struck the pickup, which had made a left turn in front of the apparatus.
“The last recorded average speed for Engine 18 before the collision was 65 miles per hour,” the report stated.
According to the report, the engine had at one point been traveling at 69 miles per hour in the 40-mile-per-hour zone and was going 60 miles per hour at the moment of impact.
A fire captain who was in the engine said he did not believe Collins saw the apparatus, and an eyewitness said the pickup turned without coming to a stop.
PFD policy permits fire trucks to go up to 10 miles over the posted speed limit when responding to calls.
Relatives of the three people killed in the crash have claimed negligence by the Phoenix Fire Department and are seeking $25 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case. No criminal charges have been filed.
1 dead, 2 injured after fiery crash involving semitruck, minivan, truck in south Phoenix
One person died and two people were injured in a vehicle collision in south Phoenix Monday evening, according to officials.
At approximately 5 p.m., firefighters responded to a call of a collision at the intersection of 35th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.
A pickup truck, minivan and semitruck crashed and caught on fire, according to Phoenix police.
The driver of the minivan was pronounced dead, while the drivers of the other two vehicles were taken to the hospital, police said. Phoenix fire initially said one of the people taken to the hospital was a man in his 20s. It was not immediately clear if there were other people in the vehicles.
Police did not identify the person who died.
A hazmat crew was also dispatched to the crash due to reports of liquids seeping from the tractor-trailer truck, according to Phoenix fire spokesperson David Ramirez. The fire department has not released information about the source of the liquids.
The crash is under investigation.
Reach breaking news reporter Monica D. Spencer at [email protected] or on Twitter @monicadspencer.
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Three civilians killed in crash with Phoenix firetruck
Truck crash fire phoenix
Phoenix Fire Engine Up to 29MPH Over Limit in Fatal 2019 Crash
Police release details in triple-fatal crash
PHOENIX, Arizona — Details from a police investigation into a fatal 2019 response crash have been released, according to ABC15.com.
On April 7, 2019 Phoenix Engine 18 was responding to a call when it collided with a pickup truck.
The engine overturned in a schoolyard and three people in the pickup truck were killed.
All the firefighters on the fire engine were injured.
The speed limit on Bethany Home Road were the collision occurred was 40 miles per hour.
Police say that data from the fire engine showed it was traveling at 69 miles per hour before the crash.
Accident reconstructionists indicate that the speed at the point of impact was 61 miles per hour.
Phoenix Fire Department policy states that apparatus responding to emergencies must not exceed the posted speed limit by 10 miles per hour.
The driver of Engine 18 told a police investigator that he believed the pickup truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, as if trying to intentionally hit the engine.
Reconstructionists estimated that the pickup truck was traveling at 10 miles per hour when it turned in front of the fire engine.
The driver of the pickup truck did not possess a valid driver’s license and had marijuana in his system.
Investigators did not specify which driver was at fault and did not recommend criminal charges.
A spokesperson for the city told ABC15 that the fire engine driver and the acting officer are still working in non-operational roles pending and internal department investigation.
The firefighters’ union issued a statement about claims of culpability on Facebook.
Phoenix Fire Dept. truck involved in deadly crash; family sues city for $25 million
Family sues city for $25 million following deadly 2019 crash involving Phoenix Fire Department truck
We're learning about the moments leading up to a deadly crash involving a Phoenix Fire Department truck in April 2019.
PHOENIX - A new report has detailed what led up to a deadly crash involving a Phoenix fire truck in 2019.
The crash happened in April, near Bethany Home Road and 29th Avenue, and three people, identified as 20-year-old Kenneth Collins, 19-year-old Dariana Serrano, and a three-month-old boy, died in the crash. All three were inside a pickup truck at the time of the crash.
"We don't get to have them in our lives anymore," said Sara Collins. "Chase was a good father. She was a good mother. They had good hearts."
Phoenix Police released the results of their investigation, along with some new surveillance video.
While investigators do not place blame on either the driver of the fire engine or the driver of the pickup, it's clear the speed of the fire engine and the decisions of the pickup truck's driver were the two main factors leading to the crash.
"Oh, my God.."
A Phoenix bus driver reacts as he drove past the crash scene.
A young couple and their baby were killed, three Phoenix firefighters were injured.
Witnesses reported the pickup with the family inside turned left in front of the speeding fire engine, which had its lights and sirens on.
According to police, at its highest speed, Engine 18 was going 69 miles per hour, that was two seconds before the crash.
Engine 18 braked, bringing the speed to 61 miles per hour at the time of impact, which is about 20 miles over the posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour on Bethany Home Road.
The pickup truck was only going 10 miles per hour and the fire truck following Engine 18 was going 42 miles per hour.
The driver of the crashed engine, Engineer Paul Kalkbrenner, told investigators he "believed he was within the fire department's standard procedures of 10 miles per hour over the speed limit."
When asked if he believed he was going less than 50, he said he "believed so."
Firefighter Robert Golden said he saw a vehicle make "a left turn in front of them" and he "did not think that car saw us."
A firefighter in the second engine said he "saw Engine 18 hit their brakes and try to make an evasive manuever that we are taught.. a move to the right and then Engine 18 hit the berm."
Each of the three firefighters in the second engine told investigators they ran straight to the overturned fire engine, and did not check on the family inside the pickup truck.
Investigators could not conclude why the driver of the pickup truck, Kenneth Collins, veered into the engine's path.
Police noted that Collins was driving on a suspended license and had marijuana in his system, but it's unclear how much or how long it had been in his system and impairment was not cited in the report.
Relatives of those who died filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Phoenix Fire Department.
Investigators did not recommend any criminal charges to be filed.
According to Phoenix Fire Department policy, under favorable conditions, light traffic, good visibility and dry roads, a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour over the speed limit is authorized.
We asked Phoenix Fire officials if Paul Kalkbrenner, who is the nephew of the Phoenix Fire Chief, was disciplined for speeding. Officials said they could not comment due to pending litigation.
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