(PA)(8-20-2023) North East firefighter struck and killed at crash scene

Matthew Rink, Erie Times-News

NORTH EAST TWP. — A volunteer firefighter who was directing traffic at the scene of an earlier crash Sunday afternoon was struck and killed by an Erie man who allegedly was driving without a license at a high rate of speed.

Shawn Giles, 53, of North East The firefighter was pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m. Sunday at UPMC Hamot. Giles suffered multiple blunt force trauma injuries, according to Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, the Giles was assisting State Police, who were investigating a two-vehicle crash at Route 20 and South Brickyard Road, by directing traffic in the eastbound lanes of Route 20 when, at 12:47 p.m., he was struck by a 2007 Lexus RX350, and sent airborne approximately 15 to 20 feet before hitting the pavement.

State Police have charged 41-year-old Erie resident Dawann M. Simmons with homicide by vehicle and accidents involving death or injury while not licensed, third-degree felonies. He also faces summary violations for reckless driving, driving without a license and driving while operating privileges suspended or revoked.

Police say Simmons was driving at a high rate of speed and "maneuvered his vehicle toward the victim" before hitting Giles. The front, driver side of the vehicle was severely damaged and a fragment of the handle of the bright orange flag that the firefighter used to direct traffic was found on the floorboard on the driver side of the vehicle.

Simmons was arraigned at 10:15 p.m. Sunday before Magisterial District Judge Scott B. Hammer and is being held at the Erie County Prison on $200,000 bond.

At the Fuller Hose station Sunday afternoon, firefighters lowered the flag to half staff and hung black bunting on the station's sign. The fabric signifies the death of an emergency responder.

Fuller Hose Capt. Matt Skrekla declined to provide details about the accident and said fellow firefighters are in mourning. It is the first time Fuller Hose Co. has suffered a line-of-duty death of one of its members since its inception on Dec. 31, 1885, Skrekla said.

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