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Witness Recalls Crash That Killed Dallas Firefighter

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
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CEDAR HILL (CBSDFW.COM) - A Cedar Hill man sends his thoughts and prayers to the family of a Dallas firefighter, after the firefighter was killed as he helped at a crash scene Monday night.

Aaron Fennell, 25, was driving over SPUR 408, when he spun out of control on ice. His car hit the shoulder facing the wrong direction.

Dallas Fire and Rescue crews were quickly on scene, including veteran firefighter William “Scott” Tanksley.

“He was in full firefighter gear about 40 yards from me, and started to walk toward me yelling, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?,” said Fennell.

Fennell says Tanksley told him to get back in his vehicle and try to turn it around. Meanwhile the firefighter prepared to stop traffic, so they could clear the crash scene.

Dallas Police say a second vehicle traveling at an unsafe speed then lost control, and hit Tanksley. The veteran firefighter was knocked over the side of the bridge, and fell 56 feet to I-20 below.

Fennell was hit next.

“I just remember curling up and putting my head down and bracing for it,” Fennell said.

Fennell says he got out of his car, and saw other firefighters frantically trying to get to Tanksley, in the road below. Other drivers also stopped he says, and tried to perform life saving measures.

He says he does not think the other driver could have stopped his car.

“I don’t think they were speeding. You could barely walk on the bridge,” said Fennell.

Dallas Police will put the matter in the hands of a grand jury to decide if the second driver should face charges for causing the fatal hit.

Memorial services are planned for early next week.

Meanwhile, Fennell has mixed emotions. He feels grateful that the firefighter put his life on the line to keep him safe; but he’s deeply saddened that Tanksley could not be saved.

“I wish I could have got down there and done anything to help. Whatever I could have done, I would have been willing to help, absolutely,” said Fennell.

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