'Go to the Right for Sirens and Lights': Concord Crash a Scary Reminder of NH Law
Photo — Chris Lockwood/NH1 Two cars crashed on North State Street in Concord Thursday morning after one pulled over for a passing fire truck that was responding to an emergency.
CONCORD — Pull over.
That is the warning that came after a crash in Concord Thursday that left one car on its side after it hit another vehicle as first responders were headed to an emergency call in Penacook.
Concord Fire Department Chief Daniel Andrus said fire crews, and an ambulance, responded to a medical call shortly after 8 a.m. About 8 minutes after the original call for help, a crash occurred near 436 State St. when a car collided with another that had pulled over to the side of the road to allow crews to pass.
A witness, Chris Lockwood, said the driver had pulled over to allow a fire truck to get by, but the driver of another car only slowed when he hit the first car from behind, flipping onto the driver's side.
"I was going southbound on North State Street," said Lockwood, vice president of events for New England Events, which is part of Binnie Media. "At the time I was looking right into the sun. I could hear the siren. I looked up, and the people on the other side of the street had pulled over, including an 18-wheeler.
"An oncoming fire truck was in our lane coming towards us. The red car pulled off to the side of the road and stopped. The car that hit it did not. It hit the rear driver's side and flipped up in the air and came down on its side.
Lockwood said the oncoming firetruck kept going. He said he slammed on his brakes, put his hazards on and ran toward the crash.
"The woman in the red car was yelling hysterically," he said.
The driver from the 18-wheeler ran to the scene about the same time as Lockwood. The truck driver held open the passenger door of the flipped car so the driver could get out and Lockwood called 911.
State law requires drivers to steer clear of emergencies and emergency vehicles displaying lights and using sirens. If an emergency vehicle is approaching, drivers need to pull to the right as far as possible and come to a stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.
Andrus said people not pulling over is common. He sees it himself when he is using his warning devices.
"It happens all the time in Concord," he said Thursday, adding he has to take evasive action when people are shifting position in lanes when he is responding to emergencies.
There are instances, he said, when people seem confused about what to do. He reminds people to remember a simple rhyme, "go to the right for sirens and lights."
If a driver is stuck in traffic, Andrus said they can simply just stop their vehicle.