By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville Fire Department called in an independent fire investigator to look into the cause of a fire involving a police SUV, after a crash during a chase.
The Trussville Tribune obtained photos showing a Trussville Police SUV moments after it caught fire on Saturday, June 29, 2019.
The Trussville Police Department was responding to a report of a carjacking that happened in the 6200 block of Kestral View Road. According to Officer Ben Short, three men, with a pistol, robbed a woman of her vehicle. Officers recognized the stolen vehicle traveling on Edwards Lake Road and attempted to stop it. The driver refused to stop.
During the pursuit, a patrol unit, a Chevrolet Tahoe, crashed and the vehicle caught fire in the area of Brewster Road. The officer was able to exit the vehicle and was transported to UAB Hospital where he was admitted for treatment.
Police Chief Eric Rush is taking a close look at what can be done to prevent a similar incident from happening again.
“The safety of my officers is a top priority,” said Rush. “It really concerns me that the patrol vehicle caught fire after the accident. Fortunately, my officer had the presence of mind to be able to break out a window and climb out in spite of being injured.”
Rush said he is working with the Trussville Fire Department on getting an independent investigation done on the vehicle.
“I have worked many wrecks in my career and I have only ever seen one other vehicle catch fire after a collision,” said Rush. “So it is definitely a rare occurrence. A large portion of the Police Department fleet is identical to this vehicle so, hopefully, the cause can be determined. I most definitely want to ensure that this does not happen again.”
The stolen vehicle was located in the 600 block of Earline Circle. Witnesses told officers that two suspects, one wearing a white hoodie and the other a red shirt, bailed out on foot and ran into the tree line prior to officers arriving.
The vehicle was recovered and will be processed for evidence.
Officer Short said detectives are using every resource to track down the suspects.
If anyone has any information related to the case, they are asked to contact the Trussville Police Department at 205-655-2101. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward can contact Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777.