Firefighter Hit By Sheriff's Deputy's Car In Fair Condition
It was the worst case scenario come to life for emergency responders - a firefighter directing traffic around an accident scene in the town of Theresa was struck by a car.
"We were involved in traffic control and at that time, one of my fire police on scene was actually struck by a vehicle," said Theresa Fire Chief Mark Savage.
The vehicle wasn't just any vehicle.
It was driven by a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy.
Police said Deputy Shaun Cuddeback struck Theresa volunteer firefighter Lance Willix - a 40 year veteran of the department.
"When it's one of your own, it kind of hits home, you know what I mean? We train, we try to do all the right things and things do happen," said Savage.
Officials told 7 News Willix was airlifted to Upstate Medical Hospital in Syracuse with non-life threatening injuries.
"He has some leg trauma, he has been transported and will be flown to Syracuse to the trauma unit," said Sheriff John Burns.
As of Saturday afternoon, Willix was listed in fair condition.
Savage tells 7 News Willix underwent surgery Saturday afternoon to repair multiple fractures to his femur.
Police and fire officials seem to disagree on what exactly led to the patrol car hitting Willix.
"There was a lot of fire apparatus around. He was stepping out to direct traffic, the deputy was coming around one of the other vehicles and I believe neither one of them saw each other," said Burns.
"At the time, I did not have any fire apparatus in the roadway. He was standing in the road way directing traffic," said Savage.
(Update Saturday morning: in a statement overnight, sheriff's deputies said "Early indications are that obstructed views due to vehicle congestion at the accident scene may have contributed" to the deputy's vehicle striking the firefighter.)
Any answers to why it happened, or if charges will be lodged against the deputy, won't come for a few more days, according to Sheriff Burns.
As for the first accident, three people were taken to Samaritan Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Thursday, December 5, 2013, Watertown, NY
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