Trouble in the Order of Fire and Brimstone

If you read yesterday’s Star Tribune profile of NewsCut, you might recall this item about the very first day I threw open the shades and saw Minnesota in daylight for the first time:

“I came out in March of 1992 from Massachusetts, and it was still pretty snowy. They put me up in the St. Paul Hotel. I got up in the morning, looked outside and there was a fire truck full of guys in red costumes coming down the street, kinda wobbling. The truck took a left, clipped a Volvo, then they backed up and took off. I thought this is my kind of town.”

Now today’s news release from the St. Paul Police Department:

The Saint Paul Police Department’s Traffic and Accident Unit is investigating a hit and run crash that happened at approximately 9:30 pm on Saturday, January 29 behind the Eagle Street Grille, located at 147 West 7th Street.

A witness, who was standing on the restaurant’s back patio, said he saw the driver of an older model fire truck back out of the alley and hit a parked car, causing minor damage to the car’s rear bumper. The witness said he yelled at the driver and the passengers who were in the truck bed that they had hit a car, but the driver kept backing out.

The witness said he recognized the fire truck as one used by the Saint Paul Vulcan Krewe.

The witness went inside and told the restaurant owner about the crash. The restaurant owner came outside and told police he saw the fire truck driver back into a retaining wall. The restaurant owner said he then asked the driver to stop and provide insurance information, but the driver refused and drove off southbound on Eagle Street.

A short time later, the fire truck was found behind Alary’s Bar at 137 7th Street East. No one was inside the truck. Officers attempted to locate the driver and his passengers Saturday night but were unsuccessful.

Today, investigators spoke to the fire truck’s registered owner who said that he was driving the truck on Saturday night. He told investigators he thought he hit some ice but was unaware that he struck a parked car and a retaining wall. He also told investigators that he had no recollection of anyone asking him to stop and provide insurance information.

Saint Paul Police have turned the case over to the city attorney for formal review.