15 Jan 2020
Phoenix Police Department investigators have determined that the driver of a fire engine was going nearly 30 miles per hour over the speed limit when it crashed into a pickup truck that killed a family of three.
KVOA in Tucson reports that the fire department was responding to a fire that had been reported at an area Walmart store last April. Documents released by the Phoenix Police Department show that the driver of the fire engine, firefighter Paul Kalkbrenner, had been driving 69 miles per hour on Bethany Home Road, where the posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour.
The report indicates this was the rate of speed that Kalkbrenner was driving when the emergency vehicle collided with a Ford Ranger being driven by Kenneth “Chase” Collins, 20, who was with his girlfriend Dariana Serrano, 19, and their 3-month old infant son. All three members of the young family were declared dead at the scene of the crash.
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Investigators say that Collins turned in front of the fire truck, causing the crash. The fire engine overturned and rolled, while the pickup truck was thrown approximately 200 feet. The collision left firefighter Kalkbrenner and two other firefighters, Robert Golden, and Geoffrey Pakis injured. The three men were taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
The case became complicated when it was determined that Collins, who died in the crash, did not have a valid driver’s license at the time, and toxicology reports indicated the presence of cannabis in his system.
During the investigation, Kalkbrenner told authorities he believed he was only going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, which is within the accepted range for emergency vehicles responding to a call but could not recall how fast he had been going at the time.
The fire engine’s lights and siren were engaged at the time of the fatal crash, and investigators still don’t know why Collins attempted to turn in front of the fire truck.