Ann Arbor, Michigan, Firefighter Amy Schnearle-Pennywitt died on January 13, 2006, of injuries received when she was struck by a pickup truck on January 7.
The incident happened while firefighters were on the scene of multiple vehicle crashes on an icy Interstate 94. Schnearle and Lieutenant Craig Ferris were walking towards one of the vehicles when a pickup truck coming from behind them went out of control on the ice. According to witnesses, the truck caromed off the median wall and then struck another vehicle before hitting Schnearle. Ferris was able to jump out of the vehicle’s path and was not hurt.
Schnearle was wearing full protective gear, including helmet. Officials said that while the pickup was slowed down considerably by its impact with the median and the other car, it was still going about 40-50 miles an hour when it hit her. She was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in critical condition with head and chest injuries.
Schnearle, who was 34 and had recently married, was with the department for seven years. Her funeral service was held on January 17; more than 4,000 firefighters were in attendance.
Donations in her memory may be sent to IAFF Local 693 at 210 E. Huron Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Checks should be made out to "Firefighter Amy Schnearle-Pennywitt Fund." Contributions will benefit the University of Michigan's Trauma Burn Center Burn Camp and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
NETWORKING THE WOMEN OF TODAY'S FIREFIGHTING WORLD, AND PROVIDING RESOURCES TO HELP BUILD THE FIRE SERVICE OF THE FUTURE