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UPDATE: PGFD says dash video shows SUV speeding on wrong side of road. PGPD disputes the excessive speed claim.

See images from crash scene

See STATter911.com’s previous coverage of this story including radio traffic

This morning’s Washington Post article by Matt Zapotosky on the deadly ambulance wreck in Prince George’s County highlights conflicting information about the collision coming from the chief spokesmen for PGFD and PGPD. At issue is the speed of the SUV that struck Ambulance 826:

Maj. Andrew Ellis, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County police department, said that the initial investigation indicates excessive speed was not a factor and that there were no immediate indications that alcohol or drugs were involved.

But Mark Brady, a fire department spokesman, said speed was an obvious factor, pointing to the distance the SUV traveled, the extensive damage to the ambulance and the ambulance’s dashboard camera video as evidence. Brady declined to release that video, saying county police had asked the fire department not to do so while the investigation continues.

“I’ll go on record as saying speed certainly was a factor in the crash,” he said.

Ellis refuted some media reports that said the SUV was going more than 100 mph. He said that he discussed speed calculations with the accident investigator and that the suggestion the SUV was going that fast was “absolutely absurd.”

More on the crash from WUSA9.com:

It was an horrific scene on the 5600 block of Marlboro Pike: an SUV torn to pieces and a few yards away, an ambulance ripped apart.

Remarkably the two firefighters in the ambulance, 22 year old Ed Godwin and 27 year old Kelli Kivett, walked away from the crash early Thursday morning. However, the 3 men inside the SUV died instantly. Atolvise Jones said her friend, 30 year old Emmanuel Jones, was a father of two live. He lived with his parents just a half a mile away from the crash scene.

“I was trying to call him around 3 this morning and the phone kept going to voice mail,” she said, “and then I saw the news and I thought, I hope that’s not him.”

Jones was traveling with his cousin, 22 year Andre Watley and friend 35 year old Tony Burney both of DC. Firefighters said dramatic video from the ambulance’s dash board camera showed the seconds before the crash: Jones’ SUV barreling down the wrong side of the street straight toward the ambulance which was operating with it’s lights and sirens.

“Almost in a blink of an eye the vehicle was on top of him,” said PG County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Mark Brady. The 22 year old firefighter swerved to avoid a head-on collision. It was a split second decision that saved his and his partner’s lives. Thankfully, the ambulance was not carrying any patients at the time. It had just pulled out of the station, a couple of blocks from the scene, to respond to an overdose call a mile away.

“I’m quite confident, with the excessive speed the truck was traveling, that if it were a head on collision there would have been fatal injuries.”

It was a close call for the firefighter family and a devastating morning call for the victim’s family and friends. “I’m hurt and I’m shocked,” said Jones, “he’s not supposed to be dead right now.”

Police continue to investigate whether drugs or alcohol played factors in the crash.

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  • mark

    Hmmm, doesn’t look like more than a sideswipe of the ambulance, but the Suburban is totally destroyed. The sideswipe had to slow them down a tad, and the wall and pole did the rest.

    I see a tirewheel by a (the) pole. Those don’t just fall off in a crash. Suburbans have an actual frame underneath, not a unibody, so generally they hold up far better in a crash. This one didn’t.

    My money is on the tape and eyewitness’s.

    What’s the speed limit in that area?

  • Dave

    What is the harm in releasing the tape? The SUV was going way above the speed limit. That much damage did not happen while doing 40 mph. My bet would be the police will never release the tape.

  • Joe Blow

    Something is fishy here.

  • Anonymous

    The only quote is that it was “absolutely absurd” the vehicle was going 100 mph. That does not mean 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 mpg is not excessive speed. Any of those speeds on that road is excessive. Dave, stop trying to start a fight between the police and fire workers to get more hits on your site.

    • dave statter

      My days of starting fights are over. That was not my story. It is the work of a Washington Post reporter. I just posted excerpts because I thought it was interesting.

      I have known both players involved for many years well and I seriously doubt there is any fighting going on or that they are even upset with each other.

      Statter

  • widgit the midgit

    cops schmops….even someone untrained in vehicular motorvehicle accident reconstruction technician specialist school, can tell the suv was not on a slow Sunday morning ride to church at 25 mph for chriisakes.
    The sops schmops are just pissed that it only took a stupid fireman 14 seconds to figured out the suv was speeding, when it took the cop 24 hours to make his calculations based on drag co-effiffients and inertia complex formulas. Damn those firemen stole my thunder again.

  • dc45

    Let’s all clam down, most likely the police do not want to release anything until the COMPLETE investgation is done. Remember, we in the fire service are use to releasing every video and picture to the media, police departments need to be more careful when releasing information then we do (the fire service). My own agency is always releasing to much information about arson cases which makes our fire investigators mad

  • Anonymous

    It’s not Andy and Mark, they don’t do police work or firefighting. It’s the people who read your headlines and work on the street that would be upset.

  • Anonymous

    After the “emergency” is declared over it is the police departments ball game. Brady overstepped his role and shared his opinion on how fast the vehicle was traveling. The speed will come out when the police complete the investigation and actually have the facts that back up what they are saying. Brady did nothing but create problems with his comments.

  • Anonymous

    This is atolvise jones. All i can say is a i miss him dearly he was a good boyfirend father son and friend