Firefighter, police officer struck, killed while working wreck on I-27

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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock firefighter and police officer are dead and one firefighter remains in critical condition after they were struck by a vehicle while working a wreck on Saturday morning.

Chief Floyd Mitchell called it a tragic day for firefighters and the men and women of law enforcement. Lubbock has lost some heroes, he said in a news conference Saturday morning. (Source: KCBD)

Chief Floyd Mitchell called it a tragic day for firefighters and the men and women of law enforcement. Lubbock has lost some heroes, he said in a news conference Saturday morning.

The officer and firefighter who died have been identified as 27-year-old Nicholas Reyna with LPD and the firefighter was 39-year-old Lt. and Paramedic Eric Hill. The firefighter who is in critical condition has been identified as 30-year-old Matt Dawson.

LPD and LFR responded to a single-vehicle rollover crash on northbound I-27 and Drew Street. That call came in at 8:19 a.m. The vehicle was traveling southbound and crossed over into the northbound lanes and came to rest.

At 8:36 a.m., LFR and LPD arrived on scene and began to work the first crash. While working the crash, a second vehicle traveling southbound on I-27 crossed over into the median. This vehicle was pulling a trailer. It came to rest about 25 to 50 yards south of the first crash.

While first responders were working both crashes, a third vehicle traveling southbound on I-27 crossed into the median and struck two firefighters and the police officer. This vehicle continued to travel into the northbound lanes and stopped after going down an embankment.

At 8:50 a.m., emergency officers and firefighters on scene requested additional emergency personnel and reported that the three first responders were injured.

The officer, a 27-year-old male with a year of service, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two firefighters were taken to University Medical Center. One of the firefighters died at the hospital.

Fire Chief Shaun Fogerson says the firefighter who died at the hospital was 39 years old and a 10-year veteran of the fire department. The other firefighter is 30-years-old and a five-year veteran of the department. He is listed in critical condition.

Lubbock Fire Chief Shaun Fogerson said both firefighters were treated by emergency personnel on scene and were taken to the hospital immediately.

“This is a tragic day for our family. This is a tragic day for both police and fire and the men and women of both of our departments,” Police Chief Mitchell said.

“When road conditions get this bad, we need to make sure that people understand that they need to slow down. They need to understand the road conditions are dangerous and we have people out there trying to protect them. Speed and road conditions are always a factor,” Chief Mitchell said.

“In the last severe weather event, icy weather event we had, two police vehicles and one fire vehicle were struck. At that time we had damaged equipment and now we have lost personnel. True heroes for the city of Lubbock. It’s a huge loss for the public safety community here and it was very unnecessary. If people would respect road conditions, things like this wouldn’t have to happen,” Chief Fogerson said.

Accident investigators are mapping out the scene. Both north and southbound lanes of I-27 are shut down at mile marker 12. They will remain shut down until the investigation is complete. No word on charges being filed in this crash.

The identities of the firefighters and the police officer will be released once families have been notified.

“Safety is our number one concern. And even when we do things absolutely perfect, bad things still happen. That’s why we need to pull together and make sure we cover for everybody, that everybody is doing everything correctly and look out for each other. It’s a time to come together and support the family that’s left, support the rest of the fire department. To learn from what’s happened and to do everything we can to prevent it in the future," Chief Fogerson said.

“The people who put on this badge, the people who put on that badge, they give their life to their communities. We are true servants. To my family here in Lubbock, my police department and fire department family, hearts go out to them,” Chief Mitchell said.

Officials will have counselors available for the other first responders on the scene and for those who knew the officer and firefighter.

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