November 27, 2014

Elyria
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Firefighter hit by car at crash site

HENRIETTA TWP. — A Florence Township volunteer firefighter was struck by a passing car at the scene of a motorcycle-deer collision on state Route 113 late Tuesday, an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper said.

Less than 45 minutes after the motorcycle’s passenger was flown to a Cleveland hospital, Florence Township firefighter Patrick Finnegan, 57, of Henrietta Township, was struck at the same scene by a passing car while directing traffic, said Highway Patrol Trooper David Dylag. 

The bizarre events began about 8:30 p.m. on state Route 113 in Henrietta Township, a few hundred feet west of Gore Orphanage Road, where a westbound motorcycle with a male driver and female passenger ran headlong into a deer that crossed the road, Dylag said.

The collision killed the deer on impact and caused the motorcycle to crash, but neither the rider nor passenger — whose names were not immediately available — appeared to be thrown from the motorcycle, Dylag said. 

Traffic approaching from the west and east happened upon the motorcycle and its two riders, and cars from both directions blocked off traffic until emergency crews arrived, Dylag said.

The motorcycle’s driver was taken by ambulance to Allen Memorial Hospital in Oberlin, while the female passenger was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Dylag said.

The condition of the two on the motorcycle was not immediately known, but emergency crews on scene said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

About 45 minutes after the helicopter left the scene with the motorcycle’s passenger, Finnegan and a handful of other firefighters were still clearing the scene and directing traffic when a westbound car struck Finnegan at the intersection of Gore Orphanage Road and state Route 113, Dylag said.

“I had just cleared the scene and was about to go to the hospital to talk to the motorcycle’s driver when I was called right back,” Dylag said.

Dylag said a Chevy Impala driven by a Birmingham man approached the scene, and the driver tried to swerve to avoid firefighters working there.

“(The driver) told me he just didn’t see him,” Dylag said. 

The car’s speed was unknown, and the incident was still being investigated late Tuesday, but it appeared the vehicle’s front-left fender and left side struck Finnegan. The vehicle’s sideview mirror was ripped off from the collision with the firefighter, Dylag said.

Finnegan’s condition was unknown, and firefighters on scene said they didn’t want to speculate on his medical status. He was flown from the scene at 10:05 p.m. — about 40 minutes after being struck.

Dylag said the injury was serious enough to warrant him being flown to the hospital.

The driver of the car that struck Finnegan may be charged with assured clear distance or failure to yield, though no charges have been filed, Dylag said.

Contact Shawn Foucher at (440) 653-6255 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.