Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 12, 2013

Suspected drunk driver hits fire engine


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Flashing emergency lights and traffic cones were not enough to stop a suspected drunken driver from running into a parked fire truck that blocked a traffic lane while crews cleaned up a mess caused by yet another suspected drunken driver.

Traverse City Police arrested a woman, 51, for operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a high blood-alcohol content after she struck the fire engine Thursday at about 1 a.m. near Grandview Parkway and Cass Street, authorities said.

It was the second drunken driving arrest in just over an hour for police, who also arrested a Traverse City man, 29, after his vehicle struck and damaged an electrical pole at the same location.

The fire engine was on scene blocking traffic while Traverse City Light & Power crews repaired the electrical pole when it was hit from behind. Traverse City Fire Chief Jim Tuller said no firefighters were hurt, though a fire captain was sitting on the engine's front bumper at the time of the crash.

"He got launched off the front of the engine when it got hit," Tuller said. "He wasn't hurt but he was pretty surprised."

Both drivers were treated for minor injuries and lodged at Grand Traverse County's jail. They were each tested for their blood alcohol content twice and each registered levels of .21 and .20.

Neither driver has prior drunken driving arrests, Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said.