Woman, 19, killed when firetruck broadsides car

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POWAY, Calif. — A 19-year-old woman was killed early Thursday when the car she was a passenger in was struck broadside by a Poway Fire Department engine responding to a medical-aid call.

The Honda Accord was traveling south on Midland Road about 4 a.m. when the eastbound emergency vehicle collided with it at Poway Road and pushed it into a roadside light pole, according to sheriff’s officials.

The three people in the fire engine were unhurt and came to the aid of the driver and his passenger, Evelyn Courtney, who died from her injuries at the scene despite the lifesaving attempts, Lt. Jeff Duckworth said.

Medics took the drFatal Poway Crashiver, 44-year-old Robbie Gillespie of San Diego, to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The nature of the relationship between Courtney — an aspiring fashion model who was unmarried and lived with her parents in Poway — and Gillespie was not immediately clear.

The personnel staffing the fire engine told investigators they had entered the street crossing on a green light, with their overhead emergency lights activated.

An open alcoholic beverage container was found in the crumpled Accord, according to Duckworth.

“Investigators are looking into the possibility that drugs and/or alcohol may have been a factor in the collision,” Duckworth said.

The intersection remained closed for investigations and cleanup until shortly after 11 a.m., prompting a traffic alert for the heavily traveled area.


  • sally

    I hate that they have to mention "a bottle of alcohol" was found the car. They probably just bought wine to have with dinner. That doesn't make it ok for a fire engine to mow them down.

    • Jay

      Yes it doesn't mean they were intoxicated and the bottle of alcohol was necessarily empty but I'm sure the fire engine didn't maliciously "mow them down." Lights and sirens should be a pretty big indicator NOT to enter an intersection.

      • Brittany

        not to mention that the fire truck had a green light it says. So they weren't paying attention to the loud siren and bright lights (Probably the only noise going on at 4am in Poway) and they ran a red light. It's a horrible tragedy but don't put blame on the firemen.

    • Manda

      it was an OPEN bottle of alcohol, and it was 4am when it happened. Pretty sure the firetruck didn't "mow them down" either. accidents happen, and if they had "mowed" them down, then why did they stay to render aid?

    • Brittany

      I am with you on one point, and that is to not assume the worst in some news stories with minimal details, but this however….not so minimal

    • PowayGuy

      Yeah, it seems like lots of fire trucks just ride around at 4AM looking for innocent people to mow down. Seriously? The bottle of alcohol was not a bottle of wine, from the video on Channel 10 it looked a lot like a cheap bottle of vodka and, if anything, at 4AM they weren't taking it home to have with dinner. It's horrible that this young lady was killed in this tragedy, my heart goes out to her family and friends, I cannot imagine having to bury one of my kids. But I seriously doubt that the fire truck "mowed them down".

  • kristinbethea

    Sally, why don't you keep your asinine opinions to yourself until all the facts come out? And have some respect for the fire service. I'm sure it is a first responder's worst nightmare to be rushing to the aid of a complete stranger at 3:45 in the morning and accidentally hit and kill someone else. Please think before you speak.

  • gfalke1

    Did everyone commenting miss the key fact that the fire engine had the green light, and the driver of the red Honda Mr. Gillespie would have gone through a RED LIGHT? Alcohol may be a mitigating factor, but the bottom line is that the Honda appears to have run the red light.

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  • Equiality Blame

    They give the names of the victims but not the names of the Fire Engineer who was driving the apparatus?!? Talk about equal rights.

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