Firefighters usually respond to accidents rather than being involved in them. But it can happen, and a crash this week is no exception.

A Knoxville firefighter who had just gotten off a 24-hour shift apparently crossed the center line while driving home on a recent morning. Police say he veered into the path of an oncoming sport utility vehicle and hit it head-on. Both he and the other driver were injured in the car accident.

The 29-year-old firefighter had been driving on Chilhowee Drive just past 7:30 on Wednesday morning when the accident occurred. Ironically, he was rescued by his own department after the accident trapped him in his vehicle. Crews had to work for 30 minutes to free the man, who was conscious at the time. His injuries included damage to his lower extremities, according to reports.

Both the driver and the 51-year-old driver of the SUV were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center following the accident. On Wednesday, they were both listed in stable condition, according to

It’s unclear what caused the man’s vehicle to veer into the other lane, but it’s possible sleep deprivation was a factor. Police are continuing to investigate the crash, and no charges have been filed at this point.

Police say they know the driver of the SUV was wearing her seat belt, although they are unsure if the firefighter was wearing his at the time of the crash.

The man is a firefighter at the Chilhowee-Holston Hills Fire Station No. 16.

Source:, “Knoxville firefighter injured in head-on collision,” Don Jacobs, Nov. 2, 2011