A Miami firefighter received a suspension this week for being behind the wheel during a violent collision that injured a dozen people back in August 2015. Two investigations concluded Gustavo Alzate was responsible for causing the crash involving the fire truck he was driving and an ambulance. "We could have done a better job of preventing that accident," said Miami Assistant Fire Chief Pete Gomez.
Video surveillance of the accident shows that both emergency vehicles were driving with lights and sirens on and were attempting to cross a busy intersection near Jackson Memorial Hospital. The two trucks collided in the center of the intersection, the fire truck flipped and the ambulance was severely damaged on the front end. The fire engine didn’t appear to slow down to make sure it was safe to cross the intersection, a required safety measure for emergency vehicle drivers. "We are supposed to slow down when we’re responding to emergencies as we approach stop signs or red lights. We’re supposed to slow down and make sure it’s safe to continue to run a stop sign or light to continue and he (Alzate) failed to do that," Gomez said.
Seven firefighters were in the rolled-over engine truck, while a grandmother and two children were in the ambulance. A third vehicle carrying two passengers was also involved. "I am grateful that nobody died. I’m grateful there wasn’t more injuries because at the end of the day really, they were all minor injuries that took place and it’s a saving grace that nobody was injured more," Gomez said. Alzate received a 96-hour suspension, which is four days without pay.
Every year, hundreds of injuries and deaths occur as a result of emergency vehicle accidents. A majority of these accidents would have been preventable had the emergency vehicle driver followed proper safety procedures. Lawsuits involving emergency vehicles tend to be complex as they usually require filing a suit against a governmental institution, such as the city or state. Because of this complexity, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced emergency vehicle accident attorney familiar with navigating the intricacies of government agency rules and regulations. Your attorney will be able to investigate the facts of your case to determine liability. Key questions to be answered include:
- Was excessive speed used?
- Were lights and sirens used as required?
- Did the accident occur during a high-speed chase that should have been called off?
Since 1977, James Cunningham has been helping Orlando emergency vehicle accident victims receive justice and fair compensation for their injuries. To ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, contact us today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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