Two Big Corkscrew Island firefighters remained in critical condition Tuesday after they were injured in a traffic crash Friday night in Golden Gate Estates, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports.
Joseph O'Callaghan, 33, a lieutenant paramedic with Big Corkscrew Island fire since April 2003, and Justin Petrucelli, 25, a firefighter-EMT with Big Corkscrew Island fire since January 2007, remain hospitalized in the intensive care unit after being airlifted Friday to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. Lee Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Pat Dolce confirmed Tuesday that both men remained critical.
"They are strong young firefighters that are a tremendous asset to the department," Rita Greenberg, the Big Corkscrew Island fire chief, said Tuesday. "We wish them the best and hope and pray for their return."
Both men were ejected from their Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a crash that occurred just after 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of 20th Avenue Northeast and Desoto Boulevard in Golden Gate Estates, FHP reports show.The FHP report indicates the crash was alcohol-related. Petrucelli was wearing a helmet, but it is unclear if O'Callaghan was wearing one, reports show.
Pending further investigation, there could be charges, according to reports.O'Callaghan was traveling west on 20th Avenue Northeast when his motorcycle struck the rear of Petrucelli's motorcycle, which O'Callhan failed to see had stopped facing west on 20th Avenue Northeast.
Petrucelli was propelled west on 20th Avenue Northeast, coming to stop on the north grass shoulder of the road, reports show.
O'Callaghan's motorcycle fell on its left side and continued west into the eastbound portion of 20th Avenue Northeast. O'Callaghan came to a final stop on his left side on the south grass shoulder of 20th Avenue Northeast, reports state.
O'Callaghan was distracted by a group of people at a residence attempting to get his attention, reports show.
Crash investigator Trooper Luis Navarro was unavailable to comment Tuesday.
Since the crash, Big Corkscrew Island fire have been supporting the two men's families, Greenberg said.
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