Tractor-Trailer Slams Into Fire Truck, Killing One

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
October 12, 2018US News

A tractor-trailer drove into the back of a Hanover County, Virginia, fire rescue unit at a highway crash site on Oct. 11, killing one firefighter and seriously injuring two others.

The truck driver was later cited for reckless driving and driving with defective brakes. The truck driver was also severely injured.

The accident is still under investigation.

A tractor-trailer crashed into the back of a fire truck
A tractor-trailer crashed into the back of a fire truck on I-295 in Hanover County, Virginia on Oct. 11, killing one firefighter and severely injuring three, including the driver. (Virginia State Police)

1 Dead, 4 Injured

Virginia State Police got a call around 9 p.m. reporting a two-car collision on southbound I-295, north of exit 38B, for Meadowbridge Road-Pole Green Road. A Hanover County Fire-EMS truck was already on the scene aiding the crash victims.

Shortly after that, a tractor-trailer plowed into the back of the fire truck, which had “all of its emergency equipment activated,” according to the Hanover County Fire-EMS Facebook page.

Three firefighters were badly injured. One of them, 43-year-old Fire Lieutenant Bradford Clark, died from his injuries at the scene.

Hanover County Fire-EMS Lieutenant Killed in the Line of Duty Hanover CO, Va – On Thursday, October 11, 2018, at…

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Hanover County Fire-EMS Department‎‏ في الجمعة، ١٢ أكتوبر ٢٠١٨

Two other firefighters were badly injured and had to be transported to VCU Medical Center, reported.

Another firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

In a press release posted on Facebook, Battalion Chief Gregory Martin asked readers to “Please join Hanover County Fire-EMS as we mourn the death of Lieutenant Brad Clark and keep his family and fellow firefighters in your thoughts and prayers.”

Clark, a 13-year veteran of the fire service, worked out of Station 6, according to

a driver can easily see the exit ramp for Exit 38B on I-295 soutbound
On a clear day, a driver can easily see the exit ramp for Exit 38B on I-295 southbound. On the night of the crash, the truck driver failed to see a fire truck with all lights flashing. (Google Maps screenshot)

Driver Charged

Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller identified the driver of the tractor-trailer as Lester Labarge, 49, of California, Maryland.

Labarge was charged with reckless driving and cited for defective brakes, with additional charges pending.

Labarge was briefly trapped in the crumpled cab of his truck. EMS personnel had to extricate him before transporting him to a local hospital. His injuries were described as serious, but no details have been released, reported.

Weather a Possible Factor

While no one has yet said that extreme weather might have been a factor in the crash, the roads were wet from heavy rains brought in by Hurricane Michael.

The Virginia State police issued a press release that described the impact the storm was having on the state.

“Since Tropical Storm Michael crossed into Virginia, the Virginia State Police have responded to dozens of calls for traffic crashes, stranded vehicles, downed trees, debris in the roadway and flooded highways.

“From 2 p.m. Oct. 11, 2018 through midnight, Virginia State Police statewide responded to approximately 300 traffic crashes and 230 calls for debris and downed trees in the roadway.”

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