Driver Who Struck and Killed Iowa Firefighter Sues City

A driver who struck and killed an Iowa firefighter in 2011 is now filing suit claiming that the firefighter, who had drugs in his system at the time of his death, caused the accident.

Firefighter Michael Collins, 41, of the Shelby Fire Department, was killed on September 18, 2011 when he was struck while directing traffic at the scene of a vehicle accident on I-80.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Collins, David L. Thies, reportedly swerved around stopped vehicles before striking Collins. According to news reports at the time, Shelby Mayor Lisa Juhl was quoted as saying "With all the sirens and lights it wasn't like there was just a vehicle out there, there were lots of vehicles out there."

Thies was not cited for the accident, although he was charged with driving without a proper registration. He had previously served time for vehicular homicide for an alcohol related crash in 1988.

Collins’ autopsy revealed the presence of two drugs, THC and oxymorphone. Thies claims that Collins stepped in front of his vehicle leaving him with no chance to avoid hitting him.

According to Pottawattamie County District Court records, the suit was filed on September 18, 2013. More on the story.

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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