MESA, Ariz. — One Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community firefighter was killed and a second critically injured when their ambulance collided with a semi-truck officials said.
Firefighter EMT Brendon Bessee was killed and Firefighter Tyler Packer was critically injured in the crash Friday on State Route 87 in Mesa, tribal President Martin Harvier said in a statement Saturday.
No patients were aboard the ambulance at the time of the crash, DPS said.
The driver of the semi-trailer sustained minor injuries and was released from the hospital. Packer is still in extremely critical condition as of Monday, authorities said.
DPS said the ambulance was attempting to pull out from a side street when it was hit by the semi.
12 News has been told the ambulance was responding to an emergency call before the collision.
Salt River Fire Chief Daryl Dash told 12 News that Bessee and Packer involved had only been working for the agency for less than four months.
"They just started," said Dash.
The community of Globe came together Saturday to honor and remember Bessee. Firefighters and police escorted the fallen firefighter's body from the Valley to Globe where Bessee is from.
Bessee's death is the first line-of-duty death for the Salt River Fire Department, Dash told 12 News.
DPS said an investigation is ongoing and the driver of the emergency vehicle still has to exercise due care regardless of whether the emergency lights were on or off.
This is a developing story and updates will be published as they become available.
Driving Safety Tips:
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) offers driving tips to help keep people safe on the road.
"There’s always room for improvement when it comes to road safety," the department said on its website.
ADOT's suggestions include:
- Don’t speed or drive aggressively
- Never drive while under the influence of substances
- Avoid distractions while driving
- Wear your seatbelt and make sure all passengers are doing the same
- When an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, move over
- Stay extra aware in work zones
- Be prepared for weather conditions that make driving dangerous
"Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511, downloading the AZ 511 app and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT," the department said.