By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER – It has to be the worst nightmare of a firefighter, police officer or emergency medical technician.
Firefighter Kristofer Jenkins was among the first emergency workers to respond to a single-vehicle accident on Salem Street near Campbell Road early Sunday morning that claimed the life of his brother, Keith Jenkins, 23. When Kristofer arrived, he recognized that the sport utility vehicle that had crashed into some trees belonged to his younger brother.
No one was in the SUV at that time, so Kristofer Jenkins went to the family home, which is very close to the accident scene, thinking his brother might have walked home, fire Chief Andrew Melnikas said.
Meanwhile, other responders found Keith Jenkins outside the SUV, Melnikas said. Keith was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. When Kristofer contacted Lt. Michael Burns and asked if he should return to the accident scene, Burns “wisely” told him not to do so, Melnikas said.
Several callers reported the crash, which happened on an outlying section of Salem Street, between 3:30 and 4 a.m., according to the police log. Callers said they heard a loud crash and that the vehicle was in the woods.
It is not known at this time how fast the SUV was going or whether alcohol or drugs were involved, police Lt. Charles Gray said.
“It is still under investigation,” he said of the crash. Jenkins was alone in the vehicle, he said.
It was raining for part of Sunday morning. Police are investigating whether the rain was a factor in the crash, Gray said. Salem Street is among North Andover’s main roads. After its intersection with Boxford Street, it becomes a winding country road.
Keith Jenkins graduated from North Andover High School in 2007. His mother, Jane Jenkins, said the family did not want to talk to the media at this time.