FAYETTE COUNTY, TN – A fatal accident along Interstate 40 in Fayette County during the early evening hours of Monday January 30, 2012 claimed the life of one driver and involved a fire truck from Braden, Tennessee.
The fire truck was in the median near mile marker 40 putting out a grass fire when the driver of a pick-up truck ran right into its back end.
“They had jut got the hoses loaded up on the truck and were getting ready to get back into service, and the vehicle rear ended the bumper here,” said Braden Fire Chief Hunter Winfrey.
From a distance the scene was chaotic, with flashing lights and rescue units everywhere and traffic backed up for miles. Closer up it was even messier; there was not much left of the pick up truck.
“Once again the fire truck did its job,” said Winfrey. “The apparatus took all the force of it.”
But the Braden Fire Department did not escape unscathed.
“Well, I’ve got two men in critical condition and one in stable condition in the hospital,” Winfrey told abc24.com.
The firefighters were flown to The Med in Memphis for treatment. The chief did get a chance to visit with one of them before they left the scene.
“Just briefly, when I talked with the driver of the fire truck, he told me that he was in the median. He said he might have been on the edge of the line, but he didn’t think so.”
Chief Winfrey emphasized that I-40 was an unsafe place for his men to work. It was certainly unsafe for the driver of the pick-up truck.
The entire incident left the Braden Fire Department looking skyward.
“Thank goodness we’re all still here,” said Winfrey, “and the good Lord’s in control. We’re just trying to get through it.”
A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Public Safety later identified those involved in the accident. The driver of the pick-up truck, 69-year-old Mark Keinwachter of Evergreen, Colorado, was pronounced dead on the scene. His wife, 69-year-old Barbara Keinwachter, was in the passenger seat and was last reported in critical condition. The three firefighters injured were Joshua Campbell, Mackie Green Jr., and Joshua Fair.