A Perryville fire police captain remains in critical condition in a Delaware hospital, nearly a week after he was hit by a vehicle while directing traffic at an accident scene on Route 40 last Friday.
"He was struck during the course of his duties while on the scene of that previous emergency," Shawn Buchanan, fire chief of the Community Fire Company of Perryville, said.
David Ronald Barr Sr., 64, of Port Deposit, was listed in critical condition at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., as of late Wednesday afternoon, said Jimi Reed of Christiana Care Health System, the hospital's parent organization.
Perryville volunteer firefighters, EMS workers and town police responded to an accident last Friday afternoon near East Coast Liquors in the 5200 block of Pulaski Highway (Route 40).
OFC Mark Choate of the Perryville Police Department said Wednesday that Barr was directing traffic around 4 p.m. when Robert Clyde Nickel IV, 27, of Perryville, who was driving his sedan west on Pulaski, swerved to avoid Barr's emergency vehicle in the left lane of the highway and struck Barr.
Flares had also been set up near Barr's vehicle, according to Choate.
Choate said Maryland Transportation Authority Police officials were assisting the Perryville police with their investigation, which is ongoing. MDTA investigators are working on an accident reconstruction.
Choate said no charges have been filed against Nickel, whom he said remained at the scene of the accident and was "very cooperative."
"Once we have all the pieces together we'll make a determination at that point," Choate said regarding any possible charges.
Choate was on the scene of the original accident and said he heard the accident involving Barr, but did not see it happen.
"Our crews were immediately able to render assistance to him at the scene," Buchanan, the fire chief, said.
A Delaware State Police rescue helicopter was directed to the scene. Buchanan said aviation medics examined Barr and determined it would be best to take him to the hospital by land.
Barr was taken via Perryville ambulance to the hospital, and an aviation medic rode with him on the ambulance.
The fire chief said fire police officers serve as "the first line of defense for the first responders on scene."
He said officers help control and reroute traffic and protect the emergency crews.
"They're kind of our eyes and ears, watching our backs while we're involved, concentrating on the scene at hand," Buchanan explained.
Buchanan said Critical Incident Stress Management personnel have responded from neighboring agencies to assist Perryville fire company members in dealing with the accident.
"We've definitely had a lot of response from other companies," he said. "We truly appreciate that and we're trying to assist the [Barr] family with whatever they may need."