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Firetruck Driver Hurt in Wreck

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. -- A firefighter on his way to a call was injured when he wrecked a firetruck Wednesday afternoon in southern Pulaski County after he lost control and plowed into a ditch, destroying the rig, deputies said.

Firefighter Josh Rapier, 22, a member of the Quail Creek Volunteer Fire Department was on his way to assist a woman in labor on Bennie Barnes Road when he crashed about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 3700 block of 145th Street near Wrightsville, Pulaski County sheriff's deputies said.

Rapier was alone.

Fellow firefighter Lt. Rick Cox was behind the truck and saw the crash.

Cox said the truck veered off the side of the road and then crossed the road and hit a ditch in front of 3716 145th St., where it struck a driveway culvert before coming to a halt.

The crash caused the windshield to fly off the front of the 1986 Mack firetruck, taking out a fence in Barbara Shaheed's front yard. Parts of the truck's siren came to rest next to a tree in Shaheed's yard.

Quail Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief James Cahill said Rapier has been with the department about two years.

Rapier complained of back, neck and leg pain as he was taken from the firetruck. He was being treated at UAMS Medical Center on Wednesday night and word on his condition was unavailable.

Another firefighter went to the call on Bennie Barnes Road, and the woman was taken by ambulance to a hospital, authorities said. Word on her condition wasn't available Wednesday night.

While firefighters waited for a wrecker big enough to remove the truck from the ditch, they began offloading equipment from the truck and taking it back to the fire station.

Shaheed said she was inside the house, trying to persuade 9-year-old Malik Shaheed to go pick up the mail when she heard a deafening noise.

"It sounded like a gun going off - boom, boom, boom," Shaheed said.

"It's a good thing he [Malik] was being hardheaded, or he would have been out by the street when it happened," she said.

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