Firefighter Sues Fire Chief for LODD Accident

The estate of a Virginia volunteer firefighter killed in a LODD roll-over accident has filed a wrongful death suit against the estate of the fire chief and another driver. The suit seeks $2 million in damages.

Firefighter William D. Altice and Fire Chief Posey W. Dillon, of the Rocky Mount Fire Department, died on July 26, 2010, while responding on mutual aid to a reported structure fire in a neighboring community. Chief Dillion was driving the engine at the time of the accident. Neither he nor Altice were wearing seatbelts and both were ejected.

Altice’s estate filed the action in Franklin County Circuit Court naming Chief Dillion’s estate and Teri Anne Valentine, who was driving an SUV that allegedly pulled out in front of the engine precipitating the accident. A grand jury convened in 2011 to determine if Valentine should be charged with vehicular manslaughter refused to indict her, and she has not been charged in connection with the crash.

The Altice suit alleges that both Chief Dillon and Valentine were ” negligent, grossly negligent, careless and reckless” in causing the accident.

Valentine has filed a cross-complaint against Chief Dillon’s estate claiming she had a green light, and that the engine “did not have its lights and sirens in use when entering the intersection.” She is seeking $275,000 in damages.

While often we think of accidents like this being the result of young, inexperienced drivers, at the time of the accident Chief Dillon was 59 and Altice was 67. They had a combined 80 years of service between them.

More on the story.

Here is the NIOSH report on the accident.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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