Grand Blanc firefighter nearly run over by distracted driver

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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/10/2017) - A Grand Blanc firefighter was helping clean up a spilled load Wednesday evening when a car came within inches of hitting him.

"For the first time I thought I wasn't going to come home,” Grand Blanc firefighter Michael Hertzberg said.

Hertzberg was responding to reports of pallets dropped on Holly Road near Genesys Park on Wednesday night. He and other firefighters were helping to remove them from the roadway when a car came barreling toward them.

"Being on the road is the scariest part of the job,” he said.

A driver on Holly Road swerved to avoid hitting the fire truck that was parked in the median and inside lane to block traffic with its flashing lights activated. It was there to keep firefighters safe as they waited for the Genesee County Road Commission to come and haul away the debris.

"(The car) missed our truck by about two inches and overcorrected into the lane that we were standing in,” Hertzberg said.

Grand Blanc Fire Chief Bob Burdette said his crew takes precautions when out on the road. The fire truck has reflective material at the rear.

"You try to alert drivers as early as possible. Hey, you got something big in front of you. Get over and get out of the way,” Burdette said.

Firefighters weren't sure why the driver nearly hit the fire truck and Hertzberg, but inattentive or distracting driving could have been the cause.

"People need to remember to put their phones down and pay attention and give us the room we need in the road. If you don't know what to do or where to go, stop and just wait for someone to tell you where to go,”
Hertzberg said.

Grand Blanc Township police gave the driver in the incident a warning.

Michigan laws require drivers to move over a lane when possible where first responders are present. The next best option for drivers is to slow down if they can’t move over.

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