ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) — An 80-year-old man was killed on Tuesday night, after crashing into an Essex fire engine that was blocking off the right lane of Route 9.
Connecticut State Police say they responded to a two-car crash on Route 9 South in Essex just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening. With the help of the Essex Fire Department, troopers closed the right lane just north of exit 3, to handle the accident.
Troopers say that Essex firefighter James Mack had his engine lights on, blocking traffic, when William Spitzschuh drove into the apparatus.
“There is heavy damage to the truck itself,” says Lt. Ethan Goller with the Essex Fire Department. “It was struck at quite a high speed and there was substantial damage to the back of the truck.”
The 80-year-old from Deep River was reportedly traveling in the right lane when he collided with Mack’s truck. He was pronounced dead on-scene, and Mack was sent to the Shoreline Clinic for evaluation. He was not hurt.
“This drives the point the highway is a very dangerous place,” says Trooper Kelly Grant of the CT State Police which is investigating the cause of that crash.
“We don’t know what happened in this situation,” says Trooper Grant. “Was it a medical emergency that preceded this crash. But motorists do need to remember as your driving down the highway.. down the road… down the highway it doesn’t even matter where you are you are operating your vehicle if you see flashing lights ahead assume that something is going on.”
And assume that a lane may be closed.
“If that truck wasn’t there this would have been disastrous for the department,” says Lt. Goller.
Other state agencies reached out in light of the tragedy.
State police say the accident is still under investigation. If you have any information, you’re asked to contact Trooper Peterson at Troop F in Westbrook, at (860) 399-2100.