By Kevin Coughlin
A Morris Township fire truck was traveling at an “unsafe speed” when it crashed in Morristown last month, according to Morristown police.
The fire engine was heading west on Lafayette Avenue, in the center lane, at 9:36 pm on Feb. 21, 2017, when an unidentified vehicle from the left lane cut in front of the truck without signaling, driver Michael Zucker, 40, told police.
The fireman said he hit the brakes, which locked up. The fire truck skidded 160 feet, jumped a curb, and hit a tree on the cab’s passenger side, partially detaching the truck’s front axle, according to a report filed by Morristown Patrolman Michael Alberto.
“I believe the unidentified vehicle initiated the sequence of events however I find that Vehicle 1 [the fire truck] was traveling at an unsafe speed,” Alberto said in the report.
Zucker told police he was traveling 25- to 30 mph, with flashing lights and siren on, in the 40 mph zone. No ticket was issued, according to the report, which indicated the investigation is complete.
Questions to Morristown police were referred to town Administrator Jillian Barrick. “In this case, the investigating officer did not feel that a summons was warranted,” Barrick said in a statement.
Township Fire Chief Jesse Kaar declined to comment, referring questions to Township Administrator Tim Quinn.
“We don’t comment on personnel matters,” Quinn said when asked if the police finding would result in any disciplinary action against the driver. “We will be doing an internal review.”
Zucker sustained a bruised leg and hip, and was taken to Morristown Medical Center with his passenger, fellow Firefighter Brendan McCloskey. Both men were treated and released that same night and cleared for duty, Quinn said.
The firefighters had been responding to a medical call at the time of the accident, which probably totaled the truck, an older vehicle only used when a newer one was receiving maintenance, Quinn said.