Family of fire truck crash victim questioning investigation

Annette Riddle was killed when her SUV was struck by a Beech Grove fire truck.

The family of an Indianapolis woman, killed two years ago when a Beech Grove fire truck slammed into her car, is questioning the outcome of the investigation and who should pay for the cost to fix the fire truck.

Witnesses told investigators the same thing they told 13 Investigates two years ago, moments after a racing fire engine slammed into 70-year-old Annette Riddle's SUV. The impact pushed her vehicle over the sidewalk and into the gas pump at a nearby convenience store.

"The lady was stopped at the stop sign. And when she pulled out, they were flying, went around another truck that stopped and just flew through the intersection, hit her. He didn't brake," said an eyewitness.

Riddle's family declined to go on camera Friday, but they tell 13 Investigates the Beech Grove Fire Department did apologize, but they blamed Riddle for the accident.

13 Investigates has obtained the official crash report conducted by Beech Grove police. Despite witness accounts, only Annette Riddle was cited for failure to yield.

The fire chief at the time said the fire truck operator was also required to proceed with caution through the intersection.

In an email, Riddle's niece says she wants answers.

"I don't understand how it is only her fault. I mean, with the witness saying that they went around the vehicle and came through the intersection. There was no skid marks from that fire truck," she wrote. "They also sent a letter...wanting money to help replace the fire truck that was damaged. Really...she is dead and it was due to lack of protocol," she wrote.

No one involved with the accident was available to speak with 13 Investigates Friday.

In January, both a new fire and police chief were appointed. The new city clerk-treasurer says requests are not coming from his office. He, too, wanted to know what was going on.

"If they are being harassed, it's not from the city of Beech Grove, it's actually from the insurance adjusters," said Dan McMillan. "The claim has been closed on it, but only on one end of it. The collision claim could still be open," he said.

Financial records show the city's insurance company paid out $213,000 for repairs to the damaged fire truck.

"It should have been totaled and it wasn't and this is what's causing some of the problems we're experiencing right now. We're having a lot of maintenance issues with it and it's costing the city a lot of money," added McMillan.

McMillan says despite the on-going problems with the fire truck, the city is not trying to get reimbursements.

Beech Grove's insurance company told the city today that Riddle only had liability insurance and that it's possible the collision adjusters were seeking to collect.