ORMOND-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. – A driver was critically injured and three firefighters were taken to a hospital after an SUV collided head-on with a firetruck Monday afternoon in Ormond-by-the-Sea, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The wreck happened around 12:10 p.m. on Ocean Shore Boulevard at Sandra Drive.
The FHP said the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe, a 51-year-old West Virginia man, was traveling north in an aggressive and careless manner when he crossed into the southbound lanes and hit the firetruck head-on.
The driver of the Tahoe was airlifted to Halifax Health Medical Center in critical condition, troopers said. It’s not known if he was wearing a seat belt, according to an FHP report.
Three firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to officials.
“We’re very proud of our firefighters,” Volusia County Fire Rescue Chief Howard Bailey said. “They were struck head-on, yet they were able to retrieve their equipment from the fire engine, extricate the other driver from his vehicle, and prepare him for transport to Halifax Health Medical Center. They maintained their composure throughout the incident and demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism.”
Witnesses told News 6 the driver of the Tahoe had been driving erratically and some neighbors had tried to catch up with him to get him to stop.
Jay Brantt, a maintenance worker at the apartment complex where the firetruck came to a rest, said it appeared the driver was drunk.
“Just looked like an intentional move on the part of the driver and he traveled so far before he hit the truck, they were trying to get out of his way,” Brantt said.
Troopers will determine sobriety of the driver as part of their investigation.
The crash is under investigation.
No other details have been released.