Lufkin PD to discipline officer involved in wreck with fire truck

Lufkin PD to discipline officer involved in wreck with fire truck

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - On Thursday, the City of Lufkin announced that a rookie LPD officer will be written up for an accident in which he rear-ended a fire truck on Frank Avenue.

The accident occurred Wednesday afternoon while the police officer and the driver of the fire truck were on their way to an accident that had just occurred.

"I applied the brakes but realized they were locking up, and the vehicle was not slowing because of the recent rain," Officer Zachary Klein said in a statement to Lufkin Police Chief Gerald Williamson. "I released the brakes and attempted to apply the brakes again. I was unable to stop before striking the rear end of the fire truck."

According a press release, Klein was headed west on Frank Avenue and following an ambulance to the hospital when he got behind a Lufkin fire truck that was responding to a one-vehicle accident under the overpass.

"The fire truck slowed approaching the scene to avoid debris in the road. Klein, who was traveling below the speed limit at 28 mph, hit his brakes, but skidded into the back of the truck amid rainy conditions at speeds of 15-20 mph," the press release stated. "Because he was able to slow the vehicle, his airbag did not deploy."

No one was injured in the crash, which was investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The press release stated that, per DPS policy, when an employer takes disciplinary action against an officer involved in an at-fault, on-duty wreck, the officer isn't ticketed. According to the press release, the Lufkin Police Department has a "progressive disciplinary policy that compromise the officer's employment status if additional at-fault crashes occur."

Williamson said because Klein is still in training, another at-fault crash could end his career with the Lufkin Police Department.

"It becomes an issue if he has a pattern of at-fault crashes because that's a really high liability for agencies," Williamson said. "If he has issues then it's one of those deals where we could viewed as negligent for retaining him."

William said he is thankful that no one was hurt in the accident. He added that he sees the crash as a learning opportunity.

"When an officer is new to their vehicle and they aren't used to those anti-lock brakes, things like this can happen," Williamson said. "We'll be practicing maneuvers that mimic this scenario in the near future to avoid another incident."

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