Calif. firefighter hit by suspected drunk driver


By Anna Kaplan
The Record

LODI, Calif. — A Lodi firefighter was in stable condition Sunday after he was struck by a car near his fire station Saturday night. Police say the driver was under the influence.

Fire Captain Michael Gold, 28, was walking with fellow firefighters back to the firehouse on North Church Street at 9:22 p.m. when a northbound vehicle struck him, according to reports.

Police arrested Kevin White, 42, of Lodi on suspicion of felony DUI. He was booked into San Joaquin County Jail with minor injuries in lieu of more than $1 million bail.

Gold has been a Lodi firefighter for more than six years, and he was on duty at the time of the incident.

He and his crew were coming back from an emergency call when Gold noticed something in the roadway and went to investigate, said Battalion Chief Ron Penix.

Most of the approaching cars saw the firefighter and stopped for him, but White did not stop.

"He's one of our brother firefighters," Penix said. "We're used to dealing with tragedy on a daily basis, but it's not often we deal with tragedy within our own."

As of Sunday morning, Gold was expected to make a full recovery, said Penix.

Investigators are still trying to find out why Gold was in the roadway, and how fast the car was traveling.

In September, a suspected drunk driver ran a stop sign in Manteca and collided with a pickup carrying two plainclothes Manteca police officers, who suffered minor injuries. The driver was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

Copyright 2007 The Record
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News

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