Jason Dyck’s full-time job is working on his farm near Carstairs, Alta., but it was his volunteer firefighter work that nearly got him killed on Monday.
“My head is such a blur right now,” Dyck said on Tuesday. “I’m happy to be alive and I’m happy that nobody got seriously injured.”
Dyck was standing outside his fire truck after responding to a crash on Highway 2 near Carstairs.
That’s when an SUV drove by and slammed into the back end of the fire truck. Five people inside the fire truck were injured, including another firefighter with the Carstairs Fire Department, a tow truck operator and three people who had been involved in the initial collision. They all suffered minor injuries.
Dyck said he only had a few seconds to react when he noticed the SUV hurtling towards him.
“It was so fast that I had enough time to yell at my guys to tell them to brace for impact and that was about it. Our fire truck went off to my left and debris from the other car went off to the right,” he said.
“At that point in time it was more of, ‘Where am I going to go? Where am I going to go to make sure I don’t get hit?’ I was more worried about my guys in my vehicle being hit. At that point in time I knew I was going to get hit. There was nothing I could do other than make sure they kind of knew that they were about to get hit. They didn’t see anything coming.”
Watch below: A tow truck’s dash cam was rolling when a vehicle rear-ended a fire truck on Highway 2 Monday.
The Carstairs fire chief said the 2012 Ford F-150 command truck Dyck and the rest of the injured people were in is a write-off.
“It could’ve been way worse. We could’ve had people seriously injured, it could’ve been people not going home to their families,” Dyck said.
Henry Fleicher with Crossfield Towing captured the crash on his dash cam while he was parked on the shoulder.
He said the SUV just missed the front corner of his tow truck and that “another crash was barely avoided” as more vehicles had to avoid the crash involving the SUV and the fire truck, which was blocking the left lane. It’s believed speed and road conditions played a part in the collision.
Airdrie RCMP said typically, emergency vehicles do not get hit but they are cautioning drivers to be aware of first responders and tow truck operators working on the highways.
“Coupled with the road conditions and people driving a little bit too fast for the road conditions — and then by the time they recognize that they’re in a dangerous situation — they try to slow down and it’s too late. They’re sliding,” said Cpl. Glenn Odishaw with the Airdrie RCMP detachment.
According to the Alberta Transportation website, motorists must reduce their speed to 60 kilometres an hour or the posted speed — whichever is lower — when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks that are stopped with their lights flashing.
This law applies to the lane(s) immediately next to the stopped vehicles.
The fine for speeding in these areas is doubled.
“Just frustrations with people not slowing down. That’s our biggest frustration, not slowing down. We’re not angry at anybody. Anger is not going to help. We just want people to understand that you’ve got to slow down,” Dyck said.