DC firefighter speeding in fire truck before fatal crash, will not face discipline, report says

A DC police report obtained by FOX 5 through the Freedom of Information Act says a DC firefighter was traveling nearly 55 mph in a 30 mph zone before he crashed into a car in March, killing the driver of the vehicle.

The report - written by investigators with the police department's major crash unit - says DC Firefighter Joseph Tate was driving Engine 26 and responding to an emergency call when he broadsided a Honda Accord driven by Deangelo Green.

It was just after noon on March 9 when Tate and his crew were involved in the crash on Rhode Island Avenue and 12th Street, NE.

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According to the report, the emergency lights and the siren were activated as Tate sped down Rhode Island Avenue heading for a fire reported at a building on 4th Street, NE.

As Tate approached the intersection, the traffic light at 12th Street, NE turned red.

But by then, the report says, the engine was going more than 24 mph above the speed limit as Green accelerated his Honda and, with the green light, proceeded into the intersection and the path of the engine.

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Investigators say when the engine collided with the Accord, the truck was going 40 mph.

The impact crushed the Accord, which then slammed into a Ford Focus, which then spun around and struck a pregnant pedestrian.

The report - dated July 12 - places blame on both Tate and Green. Tate, it says, was driving too fast and not in compliance with the DC Fire Department's protocol. Under the rules, the firefighter driving an engine or other fire apparatus should only exceed the speed limit by 10 mph when responding to an emergency call.

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As for Green, he was intoxicated, according to a report written by a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office, and did not yield to an emergency vehicle with lights and siren.

The report from the prosecutor says Green was high on PCP with a blood concentration of 0.22.

Tate has been told he will not face criminal charges, and because of a mistake by officials with the fire department, he will not face discipline from a trial board.

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According to DC Fire Chief Gregory Dean, an unnamed official in the department failed to properly calculate the time needed to notify Tate that he would be disciplined. Under the union contract, with the deadline missed, the department had no right to recommend Tate for discipline.

Dean said Tate faced a possible penalty of termination if the charges were sustained.

Greens family has hired an attorney and has plans to sue. The pedestrian, who was nine months pregnant, was not badly injured and successfully gave birth to a healthy child.

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Tate is still employed by the department, but is not allowed to drive any fire apparatus.

Green's family released the following statement to FOX 5: "The family is preparing a lawsuit based on our investigation that the truck driver recklessly sped thru a red light and suddenly changed lanes swerving into Deangelo Green who was trying to clear the intersection. His wife and six young children are left without his love, companionship and without the income he earned."