MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Chief of the Memphis Fire Department wants a policy change after an overnight crash that injured two firefighters.
A Memphis firefighter remains in the hospital after being hit by a car while responding to a crash on I-240. A second firefighter was also injured during the incident.
Chief Gina Sweat says the firefighters were blocking traffic as paramedics worked to save a crash victim’s life when they were hit by a car.
“I woke up just really angry, and I’m really angry because our firefighters and our paramedics work tirelessly on the streets of Memphis day in and day out, and more and more we are becoming the victims of motor vehicle crashes,” said Memphis Fire Chief Gina Sweat.
Memphis Police says the accident happened around 3 a.m. on I-240 near Kerr Ave. The driver reportedly stayed on the scene.
One firefighter has been released from the hospital. However, another still remains hospitalized with a broken leg.
Police say a third person was taken to Regional One in critical condition.
Following the recent death of David Pleasant, who was killed in a crash that also injured three other firefighters, Sweat says she’s tired of first responders being assaulted by drivers.
“I’ve already been in contact with the mayor, but we’ve been discussing it today and we’re going to be going to the state and asking for stiffer penalties for people who create these kinds of situations for our first responders and injure them,” said Sweat.
Mayor Jim Strickland told WREG, “I agree wholeheartedly with Chief Sweat, and I met with my government relations team this afternoon to discuss potential legislation.”
The City of Memphis is also urging drivers to move over if they see flashing lights.
“Any time people are putting their lives on the line to help other people we need to make sure they’re protected,” said Tennessee Rep. Antonio Parkinson. “I wouldn’t have any heartburn about legislation that would protect police, fire, and those emergency workers that are working in the hospital also.”
Tennessee Rep. Antonio Parkinson says he is also working on legislation that would add enhancements to shootings that are close to hospitals.