Virginia Firefighter Arrested For Drunken Fire Engine Joyride; Drunk Passengers Turned Over To Supervisor

Reprinted with Permission

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA (WUSA) - A spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriffs'Department says that a late night joyride in a fire truck led to the arrest early Saturday morning of a volunteer firefighter.

The spokesperson says that on March 5, 2011, shortly after 2:00 AM, Sean Richard Swanson, 27, a volunteer firefighter with Co. 5 in Hamilton, was driving the company's 1989 Pierce Lance pumper truck eastbound on Harmony Church Rd (Rt 704) near Canby Rd (Rt 662) at a high rate of speed.

A Loudoun patrol deputy heading toward the truck had to veer into the ditch to avoid a collision. The deputy turned around and stopped the vehicle at Woodburn Rd (Rt 769).

According to the spokesperson, Swanson was given a series of field sobriety tests and then placed under arrest. He was transported to the Loudoun Adult Detention Center, where he was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. Later in the afternoon he was released on his own recognizance.

The Sheriff's Office says there were four additional passengers in the fire truck, all of them identified as volunteers within the Loudoun Co. Fire-Rescue system. All four had been drinking. They were released to a sober driver and the truck was released to a supervisor from the fire company.

The incident remains under investigation. Deputies will consult with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office to consider any additional charges.

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Here we go again! Come on people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyone irresponsible enough to drink and drive ANY vehicle isn't the kind of person you can trust with your life. They have no place in a fire department, they have put lives at risk and a pumper at risk, that's not what firefighters are about.
A Loudoun patrol deputy heading toward the truck had to veer into the ditch to avoid a collision.
At what stage does the driver of the fire truck think, "oh boy, this aint gonna end well..."
Totally agree with everything said execpt for on thing...If you are a true volunteer you are never off duty. If you have your pager or radio on your side you are on duty 24/7. We take time away from the department (i.e. vacations, dinners with friends and family, etc...) that may involve social drinking, but as I said away from the department.

As everyone knows, this is not an isolated incident to Loudoun County. It happens way to often in every county. I just hope this article opens administators, chiefs, and board of directors eyes and they begin to take action to curb this type of publicity. When one of us (fire departments) are shown in a bad light, we all suffer.
Well, in Contra Costa County (CA) 2 Police Officers and a Private Investigator have recently been arrested. One for selling drugs when he was the Team Leader of the County Drug Task Force, and the other for working with a P.I. who was hired by women going through divorce. (Both officers, and the P.I. worked together at one time in the same department)

They paid a big sum of money for an attractive young decoy to locate the husbands, take them to dinner, then attempt to get them drunk and drive. The officer was waiting in the parking lot, and would immediately pull over, test and arrest the driver.

These types of behaviors, with dirty cops and drunk firefighters, dominate the news due to Social Media, and continue to harm the image of those so dedicated to saving lives by risking their own. If it were up to me, we'd have a special Judicial System in place, just to handle the Bad Apples of public safety, and make an example out of them all.
Our department has a strict policy. If you've been drinking alcohol or are a medication that might alter your awareness, do not respond to calls or operate any fire department vehicles. All violations of this policy will be subject to immediate termination. This is an encompassing rule. As even one drink will impair your judgment. Thus, our zero tolerance policy. Most fire departments have this zero tolerance policy. I can't think of one that doesn't have this policy.
As far as Loudoun county; this event would be considered isolated as all five of these firefighters had been drinking. At least one of them should have said "no". Not to mention; contributing to the delinquency of minor and public intoxication. That fact that they were in the fire truck suggests that they were either on duty or had stolen the fire truck. The four passengers are now accessories to a felony. At best they all were derelict in their duties.
Don't get me wrong. I've been known to down a few now and then but, I have never responded to a call or even been on a fire truck or call while even remotely under the influence of any substance. I am also a true volunteer, that believes that this is a part of his dedication to his community and I know when I pick up that beer I am no longer 100%. That's the whole reason I think before even picking up the beer to begin with.

There's a dual meaning in the phrase "It's something we can live without..."
Ugh!!! I hope they throw the book at him. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this type of behavior from anyone, let alone an emergency responder. I have very strong feelings about those who drive impaired. There is just no reason in the world why you should do it. If you are out enjoying a few with friends, do the responsible thing and call a cab. Now it will have to be determined to see if they had actually been "on duty" as far as their volunteer company is concerned. That said, if they knew they were on duty and drank regardless of it, that is cause for immediate termination for all 5 of them (driver plus 4 passengers). If they weren't then the fire truck in my thinking is "stolen" and that is something that the supervisor from the fire company will have to talk over with the attorney's office of the Commonwealth to see if appropriate charges can be filed on that issue. Either way this man's career as a volunteer is over with. I would also hazard a guess and think that his four compatriots as well are due for their walking papers as well. They basically sanctioned and condoned what this man did. Thankfully the deputy who was heading to the call was not hurt when he ran into the ditch. However that deputy could very easily have been a normal person heading home and there could have been a far different outcome either way. That truck could have easily wiped out the deputy or someone else. I am sure that the fire company is rather red faced today over what could have been a horrific tragedy had the outcome been different. They are compelled to dismiss this man and the four accompanying him on such a foolish joy ride.
Some posts are saying that this isn't the first time this has happened. Christ! Obviously it's not going to be the last, especially if the "higher ups" don't do anything about it. Hopefully these dumb asses don't kill anybody. Next time I'll be going after the "higher ups" and the county, city ect.
We as individuals and as a Fire Service have to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard if we are to ever restore the respect and honor that our profession once held.
Oh my....

Give that man a sign....
Ya know this is the kind of stuff that makes people distrust all fire fighters carrier or other wise. Nice move butt.

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