Typically, we think of drunk drivers as being lawbreakers, those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and, in so doing, jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of others. We certainly wouldn’t think emergency personnel, those we trust to keep us safe, would ever operate a vehicle impaired, especially given how many times these people would have witnessed firsthand the costs that come from driving drunk.
Sadly, that’s exactly what happened this past week when a Lee County, Mississippi firefighter was arrested after allegedly driving drunk. Even more troubling, authorities say that the firefighter was actually on duty and driving a fire engine at the time of the crash.
According to news reports, the firefighter was called out to a grass fire around 7:30 one evening this past week. On the way, he lost control of the fire truck and ran off of County Road 811. When authorities responded to the crash scene the fireman was given a breath test, which revealed the presence of alcohol in his system. The fireman was then arrested and charged with DUI.
For his part, the fireman says that though he did have alcohol in his system, the crash was not because of impairment. Instead, he claims that he ended up on the side of the road because he was trying to avoid causing an accident with an oncoming vehicle. Whether this is true or not will be determined later.
Though we don’t yet know the cause of the crash, the story itself is an unfortunate one. We depend on emergency responders to respond quickly in the event of an accident and to keep us safe. In this case, it was the emergency responder who was causing the danger. Imagine if, instead of running off the road, he’d crashed into another vehicle. An ordinary accident would be bad enough, but one involving a massive fire engine could prove catastrophic.
Drunk driving is dangerous no matter what vehicle the impaired driving is operating. Drunk drivers have impaired judgment, slowed reaction time and poor hand-eye coordination, three things that can spell disaster on the roadways. Drunk driving is a serious problem that can lead to serious harm and is responsible for causing the deaths of 27 people each and every day in the United States. According to MADD, two out of every three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime, reason enough to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for others on the road.
If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.