DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On January 12, 1998, Chuck Arnold and his partner responded to a single vehicle crash. They were firefighters in Washington Township.
“I thought it was going to be just another routine call out to the highway,” Arnold said.
Two months later he woke up from a coma. His life was changed forever.
“I understand that they lost control, spun out, they come across the median, come up the other side and ran into all of us,” said Arnold.
A traumatic brain injury means he had no memory of the crash. His partner Robert O’Toole and police officer John Kalaman were killed. Arnold now works as a fire safety educator with the Ohio State Fire Marshall.
AAA says drivers moving too quickly around first responders, construction crews and tow truck operators is still an issue today.
“So many times we have drivers that are going by them at high speeds and they’re really close to where crews are working,” said Mandi Dillon, Ohio Department of Transportation southwest regional public information officer.
Monday night, an ODOT crew was hit on the interstate.
“A vehicle hit the vehicle that they were in on the roadside and the vehicle kept going. Luckily, no one was seriously injured but it’s always a very scary thing,” Dillon said.
They are urging drivers to keep the ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ law in mind. The law requires drivers to move lanes, or slow down if not possible, whenever coming across flashing lights of first responders, tow trucks or construction crews. AAA says a survey showed 30-percent of drivers did not realize it was the law.
Arnold still feels the impacts of his crash.
“My ability to process and learn new information is getting really hard. I take more medicine than a nursing home patient,” said Arnold.
Speaking about his crash and the friends he lost is difficult but he wants drivers to know there are real people behind uniforms that they drive past on roadways.
“If I can save one person from going through the nightmare that I did, its worth it,” Arnold said.
Slowing down and moving over will become even more important to follow as roads become icy and slick over the next few weeks. A reminder to always drive for the appropriate weathe conditions.Grab the FREE WDTN News App from the Apple Store or Google play. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen.