Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Yield to emergency vehicles, Clearwater officials urge drivers

Emergency personnel attend to a man apparently knocked off his bicycle by a car on N Betty Lane in Clearwater on Tuesday.

BRIAN SPEGELE | Times

Emergency personnel attend to a man apparently knocked off his bicycle by a car on N Betty Lane in Clearwater on Tuesday.

CLEARWATER — When Karen Kuechler pulled her 2003 Saturn out in front of Clearwater Fire Assistant Chief Danny Jones last month, the 23-year veteran tried to avoid the crash.

He couldn't.

Jones' vehicle slammed into the Saturn, sending both him and Kuechler, 73, to the hospital with minor injuries.

Kuechler failed to yield to an emergency vehicle, officials determined, and cited the driver.

Cases like this are increasingly worrisome to Clearwater emergency responders who are promoting an educational campaign this week in hopes of reducing the number of accidents.

With six accidents between Clearwater responding emergency vehicles and drivers already this year, authorities hope drivers will become more aware of emergency responders.

Between talking on cell phones and tuning radios, drivers often seemed distracted when confronted with emergency vehicles, Clearwater firefighters said.

Distractions are dangerous, they say, and put both the driver and responders at risk.

"It seems like everyone is in a hurry," Assistant Chief Doug Swartz said while working at Clearwater's Station 45 on Tuesday.

Driver distractions are serious business for Clearwater medical responders, police officers and firefighters like Swartz.

It's about giving those responders the right of way, said Assistant Chief Marvin Pettingill, as he drove to one of the morning's first calls — a man having a panic attack.

Earlier Tuesday, units responded to a man apparently knocked off his bicycle by a car on N Betty Lane.

Pettingill slowed and approached an intersection, while lights flashed atop his truck. Drivers should be defensive, he said.

Responders undergo emergency vehicle driver training, Pettingill said. They need to drive responsibly, while citizens should yield the right of way.

"It could be their loved one who's in an accident," Pettingill said.

Brian Spegele can be reached at bspegele@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4154

Yield to emergency vehicles, Clearwater officials urge drivers 06/02/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 6:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  2. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  3. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  4. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  5. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]