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Heads up, not head-on

Firefighter wrecks car en route to false alarm

Staff writer

A volunteer firefighter who thought he was rushing to the scene of an accident ended up wrecking himself.

Bryce Naerebout got the call about a possible head-on car-bus crash on US-56 and drove to the Hillsboro fire station this past Wednesday in fiance Chelsea R. Stika’s 2017 Dodge Journey.

Naerebout pulled into the parking lot, killed the keyless ignition and ran for the fire house. “He thought he had it in park, but he was in a rush,” Hillsboro police officer John Huebert said.

“He hit the button to kill the ignition, not realizing the vehicle was still in reverse.”

When Naerebout got out of the vehicle it rolled backward and clipped the bumper of fellow firefighter Matthew Hein’s 1997 Dodge R15 pickup, as he was responding to the same call.

Hein saw the car backing and honked the horn, but quickly realized the vehicle was driverless.

The Journey traveled backward across Washington St., where it struck a parked GMG Terrain owned by Andrew W. Pschigoda, damaging the passenger side and breaking a taillight.

After all this, the accident Naerebout and Heim were headed to turned out to be a false alarm.

“A driver nosed up to the broken-down bus to give it a jump start,” Huebert said.

Huebert said firefighters have been involved in accidents on their way to a call before, but admitted Naerebout was pretty sheepish.

“We have had it happen before, but not quite like this,” he said.

Last modified April 8, 2021

 

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