COVINGTON, Ga. — Two Newton County firefighters were among those in two vehicles treated at area hospitals Tuesday night after a fire truck struck an SUV and traveled more than 30 yards before overturning on the side of Georgia Hwy. 36.
One firefighter was treated for a head injury after being struck in the head during the 6 p.m. incident, said County Manager Lloyd Kerr.
Kerr said County Fire Service Chief Mike Conner told him the firefighters were aboard the emergency vehicle and traveling to a fire call when the incident occurred.
A Ford Escape SUV was stopped in the southbound lane of Hwy. 36 and waiting to turn left into East End Road in front of a line of vehicles, the Georgia State Patrol reported.
The fire engine, with its lights and siren activated, moved to pass the line of vehicles in the opposite lane. The SUV then began to turn left on to East End Road and the fire engine was unable to avoid the collision, the report stated.
It stated the front passenger side of the fire engine made contact with the driver's area of the SUV and "continued from the area of impact for 23 feet and left the roadway on the east shoulder."
The fire engine then went down an embankment and traveled another 84 feet, overturned and came to a final rest on the driver's side of the vehicle facing south, the GSP reported.
Meanwhile, after the collision, the SUV "began rotating counterclockwise" for about 25 feet before it "left the roadway on the east shoulder and continued rotating counterclockwise for an additional 76 feet before coming to a final rest facing west."
Two firefighters, driver Sam Sheppard, 24, and Tyler Busbee, 22, were inside the fire engine's cab and "were bounced around" before a self-contained breathing apparatus came loose and struck one of them in the head, according to Kerr and the GSP report.
They were treated at Piedmont Walton Hospital in Monroe, while the 19-year-old SUV driver was treated at Piedmont Newton in Covington.
The engine is stationed at Fire Station 1 on Covington Bypass Road, Kerr said.
GSP's report stated Sheppard was cited for violating state law governing authorized emergency vehicles — though it did not specify the violation.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety's Motor Carrier Compliance Division was notified and will also investigate the incident, the GSP report stated.
Officers responding to the incident closed the highway in both directions for several hours, according to information from Georgia Department of Transportation.
Kerr disclosed the incident at the start of a 7 p.m. Board of Commissioners meeting.