Truck Driver Charged After Rear-Ending Fire Truck Along Interstate, Killing Firefighter

Hanover County, Virginia – A Hanover County firefighter sadly lost his life on Thursday night and three other firefighters were hurt when a semi rear-ended their firetruck. The truck driver involved in the fatal accident has now been charged.

Courtesy of Hanover County Fire-EMS

Virginia State Police (VSP) along with the Hanover County Fire Department responded to a two-vehicle crash involving a fatality at southbound I-295 near Pole Green Road at 9 p.m. Sgt. Keeli L. Hill with VSP said, “The trooper’s preliminary investigation reveals that Hanover Fire Engine and EMS was on scene providing assistance with a two-vehicle crash with all of its emergency equipment activated, when a tractor-trailer traveling southbound struck the engine in the rear.” Lt. Brad Clark was killed in the accident.

Two other firefighters were transported to a nearby hospital: one with life-threatening injuries, one with serious injuries, Hill said. The truck driver, 49-year-old Lester Labarge, of California, Maryland, had to be extricated from the truck’s cab before he too was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

After authorities conducted an investigation into the crash with the help of the Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team, Labarge was charged with Reckless Driving and Failure To Maintain Control. Authorities say additional charges could be forthcoming as the investigation continues. Weather conditions were not good at the time of the accident. It was raining significantly with steady winds along with poor visibility as a remnant storm system of Hurricane Michael was affecting the area.

The Hanover County Fire-EMS Department released a statement shortly after the accident that read in part: “Please join Hanover County Fire-EMS as we mourn the death of Lieutenant Brad Clark and keep his family and his fellow firefighters in your thoughts and prayers.”

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