Firetruck Crash ID Mystery [2007-01-21]

Susan Edelman [New York Post]


The driver of an FDNY fire engine that collided with a car at a Bronx intersection drove off without stopping – and later identified himself as another firefighter who swore he wasn’t there, The Post has learned.

The city has never determined who was really driving Engine 96 in a December 2001 crash that injured two civilians.

“If a fireman did act dishonestly, I would be very disappointed,” said Carlos Morales, a passenger who suffered a herniated disc in the crash. He sued in 2002 for $1 million.

An NYPD accident report says the firetruck, which returned 45 minutes later, ran the red “with lights and sirens operating in full,” and that Sanchez’s car “failed to yield.”

It identifies the firetruck driver as “Smith/Shield 5323,” of the Story Avenue firehouse.

That firefighter, since-retired Philip Smith, swore in a 2004 deposition he never drove Engine 96, and wasn’t in an accident.

Morales’ lawyer, Peter DeFilippis, charged the city has never cleared up the conflict: “We all have great respect for the Fire Department but its integrity is jeopardized when they do not investigate incidents like this, with so many breaches of protocol – and possibly the law.”

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