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Report: Charlotte firefighter going too fast before truck crashed

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

The driver of a firetruck that flipped on a street in south Charlotte last week was going too fast before the wreck, which injured four firefighters, according to a preliminary investigation by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The crash happened at 8:20 a.m. Thursday on Ardrey Kell Road at Bridgehampton Club Drive, a residential street just west of U.S. 521.

The firefighters involved were heading to a medical call when the crash occurred. They’ve all been released from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries and have returned to full duty. No other vehicles were involved.

Firefighter Mark Staker was driving the truck about 44 mph just before the crash, according to a CMPD report. The speed limit on that stretch of road is 25 mph. The truck skidded about 25 feet and caught fire. The crash caused about $800,000 in damage.

No charges have been filed in connection with the crash, but the fire department has rescinded the driving duties of the firefighter behind the wheel. The fire department has not released the names of any of the the injured firefighters.

A second firetruck responding to the emergency put out the flames on the overturned truck.

Mark Gonda, who lives about 100 feet from the crash scene, told the Observer that he heard the truck sliding and then heard a bang.

“It sounded like an explosion,” Gonda said.

He said he came outside and saw smoke coming from the truck. A photo tweeted by another witness showed flames coming from the front of the overturned truck.

The city of Charlotte’s risk management division has formed a critical incident review board to continue the investigation and make recommendations to prevent similar crashes in the future.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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