Fire Chief Recalls Dangerous Scene at Crash in Plymouth

PLYMOUTH, Pa. -- A man is behind bars in Luzerne County for leaving a crash, putting dozens in danger in the process.

Witnesses tell us it was a close call for a fire chief in Plymouth as he responded to that crash Wednesday on Main Street, but also say if it wasn't for his actions, dozen could have been hurt.

Phone video shows chaos on East Main Street in Plymouth as the driver of the silver pickup truck sped away from a crash police say he caused.

Robert Conklin watched it all from the window of his home on Wednesday afternoon.

"Then we all saw the guy was trying to get away. I went from picture to video and I just tried to record what I could for evidence," Conklin said.

Police say the driver of the silver pickup is Chris Shaw of Hunlock Creek

Fire Chief Brian Oppelt responded to the scene in an engine. Then he got out of the truck and can be seen at the driver's side of the pickup.

"What I was doing was trying to grab the keys and he was fighting me the whole time, whatever, so I kept coming in and out of the vehicle and then the truck started to get traction and started to move and that's when I really went into, 'I have to stop this truck,'" said Fire Chief Brian Oppelt, Elm Hill Hose Co. #3.

Oppelt tells Newswatch 16 he felt like it was his duty to try and keep everyone at that scene safe.

"He got out of that firetruck, he was there faster than lightning," Conklin said.

"The first thing I thought was I have to stop this truck before he kills somebody," said the chief.

Chief Oppelt says when Shaw's pickup disappears behind the fire engine, he was pinned between the pump panel of the engine and the pickup truck.

"I looked down and saw the spinning tires coming at my foot and there was nowhere for me to go."

Soon after, Shaw sped away, but not too far before police caught up with him in Larksville.

Another witness shared video. You can see Shaw struggling with police as they tried to arrest him.

According to court papers, Shaw told police he was sorry, that he was drinking and "the bottle got to him."

Chief Oppelt says his checkup at the hospital went well and he's just a little sore. He's grateful that many people have reached out to him, thanking him for his actions.

"My wife told me to stop playing Indiana Jones, but I said if I had to do it again I would. I didn't do anything any other first responder wouldn't have done," Oppelt added.

Chief Oppelt says the doctors told him to take a few days off before responding to calls in Plymouth.

Chris Shaw is locked up in Luzerne County.

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