I was on my way home from my parent’s house when I got a call from a good friend who told me about a traffic crash with entrapment and fire. The crash was only about a mile from my home in Brandon so I decided to check out the scene and grab some photos.
The scene was still very active and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) was doing an active extrication and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCSO) was in the process of securing the scene and searching for the driver of the SUV who fled from the scene. When I arrived at the scene the fire was already out with the help of HCSO Deputies and HCFR who doused the flames and saved the patient’s life.
HCSO asked me to stay at a safe distance away but allowed me to shoot the scene without any hassle which I appreciated. I did as they asked and photographed the crews work to free the patient from the car. It appeared that the SUV hit the small car and was on top of the car pinning the driver. After only a few minutes I also saw a K-9 unit respond to the scene to track down the driver of the SUV.
K-9 had difficulty following a track because of the dozens of people that were walking around the scene which seems to be a common problem for them. Fortunately the Sheriff’s helicopter was soon overhead and using their FLIR system they helped direct the K-9 deputy to an area of interest. That information from the helicopter led K-9 to the suspect who was hiding in a nearby retention pond but was quickly apprehended and taken into custody. All in all crews did a great job extinguishing the fire, freeing the trapped patient and catching the suspect in a relatively short amount of time.
Shooting emergency scenes at night is usually pretty tricky and a tripod is usually recommended especially for very dark scenes like this one. I had a tripod in the car but did not have time to run back to the car because the scene was moving very fast and I had limited time at the scene. I wish I would of brought it out with me. I also wished I shot RAW to get more detail in the shadows. I usually shoot RAW all the time but I had the camera on JPEG mode and forgot to change it. I feel if I had more time on the scene, my tripod and show RAW these photos would of been much better. Rookie mistake…
Here are the official details from the Sheriff:On July 27, 2013 at approximately 11:28 p.m., Anne Fanning was driving a 2003
Mazda 4door eastbound on the Brandon Parkway Extension at approximately 40
MPH. Donald Ward was driving a 2007 GMC Envoy southbound on Providence Road
at approximately 45 MPH. Ward failed to stop at the stop sign, crossed the
westbound lanes, struck the raised median and struck Fanning’s Mazda in her
driver’s door with the front of the Envoy.Fanning’s vehicle caught fire and HCSO patrol units used 6 fire extinguishers
to keep the fire from spreading to the cab of the Mazda until County Fiarrived
at the scene. Fanning was transported to Tampa General and is in critical
condition with internal injuries.
Ward fled south from the scene on foot. Dep. Perdomo & K9 Deuce along with Air
Service arrived to search for Ward. K9 Deuce tracked south from the scene to a
retention pond that was surrounded by thick brush, but was unable to locate
Ward’s exact location. As the K9 team attempted to locate a track leaving the
area, Pilot O’Shannon located Ward with the FLIR at the edge of the pond,
hiding under the brush and vines. O’Shannon guided the K9 team to the area.
As Ward jumped into the water, K9 Deuce grabbed his hand, but was unable to
hold him. Ward swam under water to the middle of the pond, but quickly
surrendered when he surfaced. Ward was treated at the scene for minor
injuries to his hand. He was arrested and charged with Leaving the Scene of a
Crash with Injury. He emanated a strong odor of alcohol after the interview,
but refused to submit to any field sobriety tests. BAC and further charges are
pending toxicology results.