1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mtnfireguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    633

    Default Illinois Firefighter Who Drove Engine Drunk Won't Face Criminal Charges

    This is the equivalent of the cops who used to give drunk drivers a ride home (and I'm sure still do in some places)

    What is the message sent here?

    ********************

    TORY BRECHT
    Courtesy of The Dispatch

    A Moline firefighter who was drunk and drove an engine to a fatal fire Wednesday morning likely will lose his job, but won't face criminal charges, police chief Steve Etheridge said.

    The name of the firefighter, who was so intoxicated fellow firefighters pulled him aside and wouldn't let him fight the fire, is not being released .

    ``It was a decision I made at the time to charge him administratively and not criminally,'' Chief Etheridge said. ``There are no criminal charges at this point.''

    However, Ald. Mike Crotty, 6th Ward, who learned of the incident along with other aldermen via e-mail from city administrator Dale Iman, said he's concerned about the chief's decision.

    ``If they were driving a vehicle, and they were over the legal limit, they should be charged,'' he said. ``They're no different than any other citizen. I question why the chief chose not to pursue criminal charges. I want to ask him why he made that decision. It seems to be a double standard.''

    The administrative charges, filed Thursday afternoon, were operating a city vehicle while intoxicated, having alcohol at the fire station and not being available to answer a fire call.

    The firefighter was relieved from duty the morning of the fire and his case will be heard by the police and fire commission, said Chief Etheridge, who also is acting fire chief. ``I will be requesting from the police and fire commission that he be dismissed.''

    He said the firefighter had the alcohol in his personal vehicle at one of the outlying fire stations, and apparently was drinking late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning while other firefighters slept. The chief would not say which fire station he was assigned to.

    Upon arrival at the fire at 220 16th Ave. about 2 a.m. Wednesday, other firefighters determined he was intoxicated, felt he was impaired and removed him from the scene, Chief Etheridge said.

    ``I arrived and the fire supervisor told me what happened,'' he said. ``I approached the individual and confirmed the fact he was under the influence.''

    The firefighter was transported to the police station -- but not arrested -- and given a blood alcohol test that showed he was over the legal limit, the chief said, adding that it's against city regulations to possess or even bring alcohol into a fire station.

    The intoxicated firefighter did not impair other firefighters' ability to battle the fire, which killed 62-year-old homeowner Bruce Noble and his dog, Chief Etheridge said.

    ``It didn't have any impact in fighting the fire. We had enough staff on scene to fight it,'' he said. ``It's an unfortunate incident. It happened, and we're going to deal with it internally. We take it very seriously.''

    The chief praised supervisors on the scene for handling the situation and keeping the intoxicated firefighter from the structure.

    International Association of Firefighters Local 581 president Ron Miller declined to comment. ``It's a personnel matter,'' he said. ``Everything will be handled by the chief's office.''
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    firenresq77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    5,213

    Default

    I was wondering about that myself............

  3. #3
    Early Adopter
    cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    This is unacceptable.

    The story indicates that the police measured the firefighter's blood alcohol level and found it to be above the legal limit. That's evidence that a crime was committed... I don't see how the police could NOT charge him.

    If you drink and then drive a fire truck, you should be charged criminally. Period. End of story.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    924

    Default

    At least this crime didnt result in a death. yes someone died in the fire but it was unrelated to this crime. do i think he should be let off.... no. this is completely unfair thats like telling a murder go ahead and go back home. this dept is about an hour away from here and this fire was bad from the get go. i do send my condolences to the victims family.
    "Let's Roll." Todd Beamer 9/11 first soldier in the war on terror

    "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands ONE NATION UNDER GOD indivisible,with liberty, and justice for all.

    I.A.C.O.J. Probie and darn proud of it.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Rescue21D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    134

    Default ???

    If the other firefighters noticed he was too intoxicated to fight the fire, why did they let him drive the rig to the fire???????????? Everyone on the rig should be disciplined as well, especially the officer.
    Captain/EMT-P

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    Rescue .....I dont know about you but maybe they could not tell he was impaired until they arrived, how ofter do you check your drivers breath ? They obvioulsy made the correct descion on the fire ground..........but he has gotta get hosed ! thats not right, thank goodness he didnt kill anyone.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    stm4710's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,713

    Angry

    Havent we as a ser........you know what,screw it......I give up.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    PFire23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    On a rock, surrounded by water
    Posts
    1,845

    Default

    promise??
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    stm4710's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,713

    Thumbs down Welcome to the Ignore list.......

    Originally posted by PFire23
    promise??
    Yeah and if he had crashed I am sure there would be a contingent on here you included, that would go "Oh what a tradgedy,oh for heaven sakes, how could we ever have prevented this tradgedy!".





    FTM-KMA-LMB-GFY-PTB
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    PFire23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    On a rock, surrounded by water
    Posts
    1,845

    Default

    Jesse, I'm in no way condoning what this man did. However, you come on here with a "we as a ......", don't lump all of US into the same group as someone who obviously is a bonehead. I firmly feel this guy should have been charged, actually, I think he should face a stiffer penalty than Joe Citizen, he is supposed to be protecting the public not putting it at risk. And you're right, I would have had plenty to say had someone been injured and killed, but thankfully no one was in this instance. I'm waiting to see if a public outcry won't change the minds of officials and we will see this man facing criminal charges.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Rescue21D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    134

    Default

    I believe Moline is a career department, isn't it. I stand by my above post and believe someone else in the house should have known he was intoxicated. Below is a copy of part of the Moline FD mission statement:


    Provide a safe environment for co-workers and customers.
    Treat co-workers and customers with dignity and respect.
    Apply the highest standards of excellence to the delivery of fire protection and emergency medical services.
    Promote honesty, integrity, loyalty and credibility in all interpersonal relationships.
    Commit to being a leader in every aspect of fire protection and emergency medical services.
    Realize that all members of the organization are partners in fire prevention and safety education.
    Commit to customer satisfaction and be sensitive to their needs.
    Contribute positively to our community and our environment.
    Value research, development and training as tools for continued growth and success.
    Captain/EMT-P

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber
    F18Wub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    NW Chicago
    Posts
    251

    Default

    First off, if all details being reported are true, which it sounds like they may be, he needs to be removed. That being said, what the h$ll does Moline being a career department have to do with this? From the news that I have been reading this fire occurred around 2AM, and from the pics I seen was a heavily involved fire. In that situation, I wouldn't stop to check the breath of anyone, I would be more focused on the task at hand.

    You are wanting to blame the Moline Fire Department as a whole for this, not the indescretion of one person.

    Lets take notice here that when this was identified that he was removed from duty immeadiatly.

    I am not defending the actions of this firefighter, but I will defend the department.
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    ditto Wub............I dont what more anyone could have or should have done past that.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Rescue21D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    134

    Default

    My purpose in bring up that it is a career house is that he is IN THE STATION, someone should have known he was drunk. If it was a volly house and he ran in from home or wherever, you may not notice right away.

    I fully agree he should have been removed immediately, as was done. He should also be charged criminally.

    Since the fire was around 0200hrs, he would also have to have been drinking while ON DUTY and possibly even in the station.
    Captain/EMT-P

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    There was no doubt he was drinking on duty ......did you ever think that maybe he was the only one up on house watch, night watch or whatever that department calls it ? And if you were sleeping sound got up and then got on the apparatus became more alert, and in the confined space of the cab began to notice the odor ? I dont see how anyone could have known before they left the station.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber
    F18Wub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    NW Chicago
    Posts
    251

    Default

    Originally posted by Rescue21D
    My purpose in bring up that it is a career house is that he is IN THE STATION, someone should have known he was drunk.

    Since the fire was around 0200hrs, he would also have to have been drinking while ON DUTY and possibly even in the station.

    I don't know about you, but in my house, no one stays up to watch everyone else at 2:00 in the morning.

    Again, one firefighter was intoxicated. Action was taken on the fireground, by the members of the Moline FD.

    The Moline Fire Department is not to blame here. The actions of a lone firefighter are. You will have a hard time convincing me otherwise.
    Last edited by F18Wub; 02-28-2004 at 10:53 PM.
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Puget Sound
    Posts
    130

    Default

    Originally posted by F18Wub
    The Moline Fire Department is not to blame here. The actions of a lone firefighter are. You will have a hard time convincing me otherwise.
    To some extent I agree with you. But I very much disagree with the department's decision to prevent criminal charges from being filed. I have no idea how it works in Illinois, but in Washington, the prosecutor decides whether or not criminal charges are filed. This guy was plowed, he drove, and he authorized a blood draw. A prosecutor here (and I know, because I am one) would file DUI charges on him in a second.

    He should be prosecuted criminally.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    I dont think anyone has posted differently .............
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber
    npfd801's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Somewhere in Illinois
    Posts
    2,221

    Default

    I know a lot of departments that will protect their folks like family. Maybe this is the case in Moline. I don't know.

    Around here, an off-duty, probationary career firefighter got drunk one night. So he decides that the private ambulance that's parked across the street idling at one of the ambulance stations (a private under contract for a volunteer dept.) would be a fun drive. He proceeds to steal it and go off on a joy ride.

    Was he arrested for theft, DUI, etc? No.
    Was he kicked off of his dept.? No.
    Should he have been? Hell yes.
    Was his dept. aware that he did this? Very much so.

    All of these acts would have disqualified him from consideration for the job, therefore he should have been canned.

    Hmmm. Some folks are above the law.

    This is not a career vs. volunteer issue either, as tons of these city guys spend a lot of time working as EMS and fire instructors. We have a fantastic working relationship with them.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber
    F18Wub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    NW Chicago
    Posts
    251

    Default

    Nowhere did I post, or insinuate that this firefighter should not be prosecuted. If what we are reading is accurate, I belive he should be charged with DUI. All that I know about what is going on in Moline, I read from the area newspapers and TV stations. As to why he is not being charged-that is a good question to ask the city leaders.
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber
    arhaney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Wren, MS Until the forum gremlins pay a visit!
    Posts
    1,448

    Default

    I hope someone gets smart and prosecutes this guy, after all the horror we see caused by DUi accidents you would think this gent would know better. I had an Aunt and Uncle killed by someone under the influence and really don't care if he was a fireman, policeman, joe blow or whatever!!!!!! Wrong is wrong is wrong.
    Chief
    Wren Volunteer Fire Department
    IACOJ
    Southern Division

    http://www.wrenfiredepartment.4t.com/

    In Memory of:
    FireFighter/Pilot James Archer
    1946-2005
    "Rest in peace James, you now have the ultimate set of wings on you."

    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

  22. #22
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Hanford Fire
    Posts
    43

    Default

    This should never have happened. 1. The firefighter should never have been driving, 2. What happen to a supervisor knowing what is going on with the crews, 3. Someone should have stopped it from happening, and 4. he should charged and disciplinary should be in the works. It is a sad day for us all, 200 years of tradition seems to be getting in the way again.

  23. #23
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    1) how would they know .............it was 0200 ! you gotta policy to blow in a breathalyzer before you can drive your engine ?
    2)Are your mom and dad up watching over you and all your activities ? IT WAS 2 in the morning !
    3)Cant stop it if you dont know it is/was going on....they certainly stopped it at the scene.
    4)YES he should !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mtnfireguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    633

    Default

    I may have missed it somewhere.... but who transported this guy to the police station? Was it the FD or the Police?

    If it was the police and then thru doing a BA they found him to be
    over the limit and then chose to do not arrest him...The Police are at fault. Professional courtesy only goes so far....

    We can't watch everyone, all the time, Vol or Career, but I would almost bet this probably isnt the first time this guy has drank on the job.
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

  25. #25
    MembersZone Subscriber
    F18Wub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    NW Chicago
    Posts
    251

    Default An update. . .

    From the WQAD web site

    MOLINE -- Last Tuesday, an unidentified Moline firefighter drove a tanker truck to the scene of a deadly fire. A breathalyzer test later showed the fireman was legally drunk. On Tuesday, the Police and Fire Chief, Steve Etheridge, explained why police didn't charge the fireman with a DUI.

    The matter was taken up at Moline's Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. It was clear some of the alderman preferred not to discuss the situation in public. Others felt the public deserved some answers. What happened was something in between.

    At the meeting, Fourth Ward Alderman Dick Potter decided to force a public discussion about the Chief's decision not to criminally charge the firefighter. The move put Chief Etheridge on the defensive.

    "He wasn't treated differently than any other citizen based on the circumstances that transpired," says Etheridge.

    The chief went on to explain the firefighter was at the scene of the deadly fire a considerable amount of time before he had any contact with police. Etheridge said if an officer pulled the fireman over while he was driving a fire truck, it would have been a very different case.

    "If I had stopped him driving that truck and he was behind the wheel, he would have been arrested for drunk driving," explains Etheridge.

    After several minutes of very tense exchanges, the City Attorney reminded the group it had a right to continue the discussion in private.

    "I would strongly advice and recommend that if the Council wants to talk about specifics, they do so as the law allows -- in closed session," advised Jeff Lester.

    The group eventually decided to take that advice. So, the matter was continued in the closed-door executive session.

    A bit of flip-flop after the closed-door session. The council came out and unanimously approved a Vote of Confidence in the chief and his investigation. Council members say after finally having all the facts, they now feel comfortable with where things stand.

    Next Tuesday, the members of the Police and Fire Commission will take up the matter. That's the group that determines whether or not the firefighter will lose his job.



    A big discussion on the news last night was that there was 45 minutes betweeen arrival on scene, and testing. They feel that they couldn't prove DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register