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Forum staff reports, Published June 27 2013

Fire truck, car crash in Fargo; three sent to hospital

FARGO – A Fargo fire truck was heavily damaged this morning after it collided with a car that was driving without its lights on, a fire official said.

The incident happened about 3 a.m. in the area of Main Avenue and Ninth Street, said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Balstad.

Balstad said the pumper truck was westbound on Main Avenue at normal road speed when it collided with a car that was northbound on Ninth Street and driving without its lights on.

At that location, Ninth Street traffic has a stop sign.

The driver of the car and two firemen were taken to the hospital, according to Balstad, who said the firefighters were treated and released.

Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel said police believe the driver of the car, whom Vettel identified as Leonard Lee Wessels, 28, Dilworth, was involved in an earlier incident in which a car failed to stop when an officer tried to make a traffic stop.

Vettel said shortly before the collision happened, an officer in the area of Third Avenue and Ninth Street South spotted what he believed was the vehicle that got away in the earlier traffic stop attempt. The officer, who was handling another matter, was preparing to pursue the car when it took off on Ninth Street at a high rate of speed without its lights on.

Vettel said Wessels was arrested for DUI and due to his injuries he was taken to the hospital.

According to Vettel, Wessels has a number of outstanding arrest warrants, some of them involving felonies.

Balstad said the fire truck was unusable, and because of the extensive damage it wasn’t clear if it ever will be.