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. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman died in a shooting Saturday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  2. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with a different look to things

    Blogs

    The Rays wrap up their four-game series with the Orioles today and their lineup has a different look, with C Wilson Ramos, OF Steven Souza Jr. and 3B Evan Longoria all getting the day off.

    The Rays are starting their All-Star, RHP Chris Archer, who needs wins in his final two outings to even his record, going …

  3. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack

    News

    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  4. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  5. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.