Flipped Fire Truck, Self-Insured, Costs Palm Beach County Taxpayers $300,000. Driver Previously Crashed.
Chief Reginald Duren, Copied On Promotion Document, Refuses to Comment On Latest Crash.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) [EXCLUSIVE] — The firefighter who ran a red light In October, flipping and totaling a $300,000 rescue truck in West Boca Raton, was also cited for hitting a tree in 2020 and damaging another fire truck.
Records obtained exclusively by BocaNewsNow.com reveal that Samuel Navarette hit a tree towards the end of his training on January 22, 2020. The crash happened in the Pine Ridge development as Rescue 57 was responding to a call. According to records reviewed by BocaNewsNow.com, the rescuers continued on to the call, then returned to the scene to survey the damaged tree — and truck.
The following was written by Batallion Chief Neal Niemczyk as part of the investigation into the tree incident:
“My investigation determined that Samuel Navarette struck a fixed object, a tree, while responding to an emergency incident. There were no injuries. There was minor damage to the ladder. The accident, although minor, was preventable. Samuel should have stopped and addressed before proceeding forward. For this reason, 2 points and formal discipline was administered for the preventable damage to county property.”
Tim McCabe, the District Chief, wrote the following:
The accident did not stop Navarette from later being promoted to the position of “driver” for station 55 — based on Palmetto Circle in Boca Raton. Navarette was driving on October 23rd when the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says he ran a red light at Powerline and Palmetto Park Road while responding to a call. A pickup truck slammed into the rear right side of the fire truck, initiating a rollover. Several rescuers needed rescue themselves, although none were seriously injured. While emergency drivers may drive through red lights, they are required to monitor traffic conditions and only proceed when safe.
Palm Beach County Fire Administrator Reginald Duren refuses to discuss the matter with BocaNewsNow.com despite repeated requests for comment.
One possible reason why: Duren was copied on Navarette’s promotion letter sent just months ago. It is unclear if Duren researched his employee’s history with the department, or personally approved the promotion. BocaNewsNow.com wants to know if Duren is confident that other Palm Beach County Fire Rescue employees, and the general public, are safe if Navarette is driving.
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