A driver crashed into a St. Paul fire station and an outdoor memorial for a fallen firefighter Tuesday night before fleeing the scene.
Firefighters at Station 14 on Snelling Avenue had just finished dinner when they heard a loud bang and ran outside to find out what happened, according to a Facebook post.
“We all got up to investigate what we thought was a multiple vehicle accident,” the social media post read. “Instead, we find a vehicle had crashed into the station with the driver running down the street.”
The vehicle hit a memorial erected in honor of Shane Clifton, a firefighter and paramedic who worked at Station 14 and died in the line of duty on Aug. 31, 2015. Clifton, 38, had worked for the St. Paul Fire Department for eight years. He previously had served in the Navy for nine years.
The stone outside the station at 111 N. Snelling Av. was not damaged, the posting said, and firefighters were able to clean up the area and replace the headstone.
Police responding about 6:30 p.m. said a witness told them that the male driver was speeding when he lost control and crashed. The witness stopped at the scene, but by the time she got to the car the driver was gone, according to St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders.
Linders said the car’s air bags deployed and that there was blood in the car. Officers also found a wallet, phone and an empty bottle of Jameson whiskey in the car, he said.
The case remains “open and active,” Linders said Wednesday morning.