Shelby Firefighter Killed During Traffic Accident, Family, Firefighters Mourn
Shelby, IA - Protecting others from harm, a Shelby firefighter is hit and killed by a car while directing traffic around another accident. It happened Sunday evening on I-80 near the Shelby exit. The Iowa State Patrol says the victim is 41-year-old Firefighter Michael Collins of Shelby.
A volunteer firefighter is thrown from the interstate after a wreck-lace driver runs into him. "With all the sirens and lights it wasn't like there was just a vehicle out there, there were lots of vehicles out there," said Shelby Mayor Lisa Juhl.
The town of Shelby is quiet. The mayor says the entire community hurts. The fire department's flag flies at half staff. "This has been a very difficult time for them. What hits home is that it could have been any one of them," said Juhl.
Collins had joined the volunteer fire department two years ago. He was out on an accident call on the interstate Sunday evening, helping direct traffic when one driver never slows down. Instead, 43-year-old David Lee Thies of Ames swerves into the lane closure where Collins is standing and runs into him. "They really do care about one another and safety is very important to all of them," said Juhl.
Collins leaves behind his wife and two young daughters. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Scott Miller says he's never seen this happen before. "He veered to the left to avoid the traffic slowing and merging to the right," said Iowa State Patrol Trooper Scott Miller.
The trooper says they try to be extra cautious when in traffic, always using their lights, flares and cones but Sunday that wasn't enough. "Twenty years I've been doing this job in southwest Iowa, I don't remember a time when a law enforcement officer or fireman was killed at a crash scene," said Miller. "It hits home."
Councilors will be available Monday night for the firefighters. Firefighters met last night at the local church to help support each other through the loss.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Michael Collins.
Visitation will be this Thursday from 4 to 8pm at the Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral Home in Council Bluffs.
The funeral will be Friday at 11am at the same place.
A Memorial Fund has been established for the Children and Family of Mike Collins.
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to:
Shelby Fire Department Mike Collins Memorial Fund
Shelby County State Bank, Shelby Branch
PO Box 279
425 East Street, Shelby Iowa 51570
Authority , Shelby Fire Department