ST. PETERSBURG — The man whose pick-up truck slammed into a fire engine Friday was speeding, driving around traffic in the turn lane and talking on his cell phone before the crash, police said.
Johnny Roberts, 45, was pinned inside the 1995 Chevy S-10 pick-up until firefighters cut through the roof and pulled him out. He gave the thumps-up sign as be was removed and taken to Bayfront Medical Center for treatment of a leg injury.
The three firefighters who were inside St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Engine 8 were shaken up but uninjured, said Lt. Joel Granata.
They were responding to a report of a fire around 11:51 a.m., authorities said. The engine was leaving Lake Maggoire Station 8 at 3601 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S. The engine's emergency lights and sirens were on and it was pulling east across the road. Drivers were already stopping for the fire engine, authorities said.
That's when the pick-up showed up. Witnesses told police the driver was speeding south on MLK, passing vehicles in the turn lane and at one point was talking on his cell phone just before the pick-up's front-end struck the left front of the fire truck.
Another fire engine had to be sent to the reported fire, Granata said. Police said Roberts was at fault in the crash and will be cited, but those charges were unavailable late Friday.