Phoenix City Council approves large settlement deal over deadly 2019 crash involving fire truck

Members of the Phoenix City Council have voted to approve a large settlement in connection with a deadly crash involving a Phoenix Fire Department truck.

Under the settlement, the city will pay $3 million to the mother of Dariana Serrano, Mercy Arangure. Arangure filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Phoenix Fire.

Crash happened in 2019

According to our previous reports, the crash, which happened in April 2019 near Bethany Home Road and 29th Avenue, killed 20-year-old Kenneth ‘Chase’ Collins, Serrano, who was 19 at the time, and a three-month-old boy.

All three were inside a pickup truck at the time of the crash.

In 2020, a report released by the Phoenix Police Department states that while investigators do not place blame on either the driver of the fire engine or the driver of the pickup, it is clear the speed of the fire engine, and the decisions of the pickup truck's driver, were the two main factors leading to the crash.

According to police, at its highest speed, Engine 18 was going 69 miles per hour, that was two seconds before the crash. Engine 18 braked, bringing the speed to 61 miles per hour at the time of impact, which is about 20 miles over the posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour on Bethany Home Road.

The pickup truck was only going 10 miles per hour and the fire truck following Engine 18 was going 42 miles per hour.

The driver of the crashed engine, Engineer Paul Kalkbrenner, told investigators he "believed he was within the fire department's standard procedures of 10 miles per hour over the speed limit." Kalkbrenner is the nephew of Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner.

Firefighter Robert Golden said he saw a vehicle make "a left turn in front of them" and he "did not think that car saw us."

A firefighter in the second engine said he "saw Engine 18 hit their brakes and try to make an evasive maneuver that we are taught: a move to the right, and then Engine 18 hit the berm."

Each of the three firefighters in the second engine told investigators they ran straight to the overturned fire engine, and did not check on the family inside the pickup truck.

Investigators could not conclude why Collins, who was the driver of the pickup truck, veered into the engine's path. 

"We don't get to have them in our lives anymore," said Collins' mother, Sara, in 2019. "Chase was a good father. [Serrano] was a good mother. They had good hearts."

Police noted that Collins was driving on a suspended license, and had marijuana in his system. It is, however, unknown if Collins was impaired at the time of the crash. Investigators did not recommend any criminal charges to be filed.

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