The fire chief of Rincon will be in Port Wentworth Municipal Court later this month on three traffic charges.
Corey Rahn faces charges of reckless driving, failure to yield to emergency vehicles and failure to exercise due care, following his efforts to get to an accident in Rincon that took him through Port Wentworth. Rahn was responding to a collision between a garbage truck and a tanker truck on Highway 21 near Patriots Drive.
“We are aware of the citations and are looking into the matter,” said Rincon City Manager Wesley Corbitt. “What we do know is that a major accident involving a tanker carrying approximately 9,000 gallons of fuel was rear-ended by a trash truck at approximately 45 mph. The trucks were fused together and an individual in critical condition was trapped in the trash truck.
“There was tremendous potential for escalation of damage to persons and property,” Corbitt continued. “Transmission lines were overhead and a natural gas line located close to the scene would have been extremely threatened if the tanker had exploded. The YMCA was just a few hundred feet away from potential explosion that could have sent metal through the YMCA, threatening the lives of many children.”
Corbitt said Rahn is the only fire-fighting professional with 30 years of handling “such explosive and life-threatening accident.”
“We needed him on the scene, and I have every confidence that he proceeded with due care,” Corbitt added. “I have no doubt of the importance of his presence at the scene and that his leadership was vital to safely diffuse a potentially explosive and life-threatening accident.”
Rahn was in Pooler when the alert about the accident was broadcast. He headed toward Effingham County, but his vehicle wasn’t equipped with emergency lights.
Corbitt said he has seen the Port Wentworth Police dash and body camera videos and has reviewed the law with city attorney Raymond Dickey.
“l believe Chief Rahn performed his duties responsibly and within the law,” Corbitt said. “Though he may not have been required to stop, since he was in a permitted emergency vehicle and was traveling to an actual emergency, I believe he would have, had he known he was being pursued. The fact is he didn’t until he was nearly to the accident. When he realized he was being pursued, he was about to pull over, but at that moment the officer turned off his blue lights, so he continued to the accident.”