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Report: Driver had drugs in system during collision with Phoenix firetruck

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PHOENIX — A police report released Wednesday says the driver killed with two others in a collision with a Phoenix firetruck last year had marijuana in his system and didn’t have a valid license.

The Phoenix Police Department report on the April 7 incident states 20-year-old Kenneth Collins failed to yield and turned left in front of Engine 18 while it was driving in the opposite direction with its lights and siren on near 29th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

A box was checked on the report indicating drugs were a “condition influencing” Collins. The report’s summary section said Collins tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

It also said he wasn’t licensed because his driving privileges had been suspended.

The report also indicates the firetruck was traveling at a “speed too fast for conditions.” It was going 69 mph in a 40 mph zone prior to the collision, according to the report.

Department policy allows firetrucks to go 10 mph over the posted speed limit while responding to a call with lights and sirens as long as there are favorable conditions, including light traffic, good roads, good visibility and dry pavement.

The firetruck’s driver applied the brakes and veered right, reducing speed to an estimated 61 mph when the impact occurred, the report says. The family’s 1996 Ford Ranger was estimated to be going 10 mph.

Collins died at the scene, and two passengers, 19-year-old Dariana Serrano and their 3-month-old son, were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Three firefighters were injured and released from the hospital within a couple of days.

The driver of the firetruck was Paul Kalkbrenner, who, according to ABC15, is the nephew of Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner.

Police said the force of the crash caused extensive damage to the family’s pickup truck, and the fire engine rolled multiple times. The child was in a car seat at the time of the crash.

Serrano’s mother filed a $25 million claim against the city in August, alleging the crash was caused by the firefighters’ negligence.

She accused the firetruck of not trying to avoid the pickup truck while the emergency vehicle was speeding.

The report is heavily redacted due to the pending litigation.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report. 

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