Who's The Moron? Firefighter arrested for speeding to call

Firefighter arrested for speeding to fire call in NC screams the headline on FireRescue1 at http://www.firerescue1.com/volunteer/articles/602445-Firefighter-ar...

GIBSONVILLE, N.C. — A Gibsonville firefighter arrested last month on his way to an apartment fire no longer faces felony charges, but the district attorney's office won't say whether the traffic offenses he racked up that day will stick.

Gibsonville Fire Assistant Chief Joseph Loy was charged by Elon University campus police on Oct. 9 with flee/elude arrest, which is a felony, as well as speeding, failing to stop at a red light, reckless driving, failing to heed to a light or siren and unsafe passing yellow line.

The case is another interesting point in the history of the fire service- again, this has some huge outcomes for FD's the country wide. Imagine if every member faced the risk of charges for responding to the scene? Interesting food for thought.

What about the whole debate on lights on POV? Let's not go there again.... ;-)

Now the point that prompted me to tap away at the keyboard wasn't actually the article itself- it was one of the responses to the article, which begins with, "This moron cop..."

Now there's no doubt that there's more to this story- there's always two sides to every story, but the charges handed down include flee/elude arrest, which is a felony, as well as speeding, failing to stop at a red light, reckless driving, failing to heed to a light or siren and unsafe passing yellow line.

So I ask, if these charges are true and accurate, who's the moron? The cop for enforcing the law (let's not forget that even as firefighters, we're NOT above the law), or the firefighter (At Assistant Chief level mind you!) for allegedly breaking these laws?

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Comment by Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich on November 11, 2009 at 10:58am
Without knowing anymore than what I read, I would opine that this AC was driving like a stark raving lunatic.
We have seen the videos of cops confronting firefighters and paramedics.
I won't speak to the charges, but if they are proven, the cops won't have to do anything.
I would suspend this firefighter, if proven that he was driving like a stark raving lunatic.
We have an SOG; state law shouldn't have to enter into it.
Comment by John H. Love on November 10, 2009 at 10:19pm
Check the laws and it changes state to state but in North Carolina, a university Police officer is an employee of the University, but are sworn by the guidelines of the Local Government, and most universities are state supported.
Comment by John H. Love on November 10, 2009 at 10:13pm
As all that remember that first day in EVDT training, even with lights and siren, Engine, Ladder, Tanker, Chief Car or POV. The words "due regard" say it all. We are not above the law and if the law is broken, no matter what the offense the Asst Chief will have to answer for his actions. I would say that a lesson should be learned by all and remember that someone elses emergency, does not always make it your emegency. Driving above the law does not help anyone of us in the service, as those that break the law with intentions or not bring attention to the rest of us doing what we do. STAY SAFE.
Comment by Capt.Alex Arnold on November 10, 2009 at 4:49pm
A Campus Cop is seperate law enforcememnt that is hired, usually by the University/college to enforce laws and such. They usually are commisioned LE officers and handle issues on campus. They enforce the laws of the community where the campus is located and all codes/laws that are set within the campus itself.
Now on this speeding thing...our agency spells it out in our SOPs (G-003-All volunteers/staff WILL obey all rules and traffic laws when responding to the station OR to a scene. etc....) We don't use lights or sirens on our POVs here. My personal opinion is that those devices give you no special privleges.
We had a firefighter with a lead foot in our agency. He was (who is not EMS trained) was responding to an EMS call. He was in his POV and was driving recklessly (called in over the air by the responding amb.) He was doing speeds in excess of 80mph, failing to yield to the ambulance, and passing in no passing zones. The kick in the pants is that only a couple of weeks before this he was stopped for the same thing, in his POV! The state trooper that pulled him over on the second call didn't want to write the ticket at first. Him and I sat on the side of the road after the call for quite some time "discussing" about what he should do. He wanted to let it go and call it "proffessional courtesy" but I was not going to have any of that. I stuck to my guns and made write the full compliment of tixs. He ended up with over $1500 in fines. The FF wanted to go and fight it in court. I told him that if he did I would make sure that the judge recieved a copy of our SOP before a judgement was handed.
Some of you may think...dam Cap you are a hard ass! Yea and no. it is hard to uphold SOPs when they are not enforced by us and our partners. I can understand some "proffessioal courtesy" I appreciate that but there has always been a gray line towards this. This (now former) FF held no special training that would have made a significant difference at the scene (a suicide attempt/slasher) he did not respond to his respected station for a response, instead went POV to the scene. The biggest kicker for me was, he operated with NO due regard for the public.
This will continue to be an issue through out the sands of time, or at least until Star Trek meets the present times and we all start "beaming up." Until that time though the only option is to operate all vehicles (POVs and apparatusses) with complete DUE REGARD!! If you don't get there then you can't make a difference!
Be safe and learn something new today.
Comment by Chief Dino on November 10, 2009 at 4:24pm
What a knucklehead. . . .
Comment by lutan1 on November 10, 2009 at 3:58pm
From an outsider, what's a University Cop? What's their powers, authority, etc?
Comment by Oldman on November 10, 2009 at 11:05am
"It all depends on the local laws of that community. If that firefighter is allowed to exceed the speed limit then he has a pretty good case".

I wouldn't think a law or ordinance of a municipality would supersede state laws. I cannot speak about the laws in North Carolina, but in Texas if you are not running lights and sirens and are operating a POV in this manner, you would be arrested. A volunteer firefighter is not above the law. No lights or sirens... you do not have a leg to stand on. Even exceeding the speed limit would result in a citation, which might be dismissed by the judge. But he should have pulled over.

If this AC had pulled over when the officer lit him up, identified himself and the nature of his call, it probably wouldn't wouldn't have made the news. But as we see on the news almost daily, people run from law enforcement. As an officer, I wouldn't have a clue why this person is not pulling over, and could have for all I know, just murdered someone.

You would think that after 36 years as a volunteer, the AC would have used better judgment.
Comment by Jack/dt on November 10, 2009 at 10:32am
From the article at http://www.firerescue1.com/volunteer/articles/602445-Firefighter-ar...

"Loy...didn't have the strobe light that he typically turns on when responding to a fire."

"Loy is accused of driving 55 mph in a 35 mph zone. He allegedly passed vehicles in a no-passing zone and went through a red traffic light, according to court records."

"His name has been put out there as if he did something wrong," she (the daughter) said. "All he was trying to do is do what a volunteer does and try and help someone. Maybe he was speeding but it was a house fire. No one wants someone's house to burn down."

Classic vollie reasoning. The rules don't apply.
Comment by Mac Conant on November 10, 2009 at 8:15am
Jeez. That is a toughy. I think the whole "Campus police" had me turned off to this whole mess.

im going to assume he was driving Pov?

And from my stand point, a ASST C is gunna have a full light bar, perhaps a Siren, and the same Laws as a Emergency Vehicle.

If he was running a siren and full light bar...Id be ticked off at the charges. If he was running a normal vehicle with a red light..im more apt to understand the charges.
Comment by lutan1 on November 10, 2009 at 5:39am
It's agood point about local laws, but also let's not forget the little nugget the daughter said, "Loy, who has volunteered with the department for more than 36 years, was driving the family's third vehicle at the time, and didn't have the strobe light that he typically turns on when responding to a fire."

So again, even if he's allowed to by law, did he follow the law with the use of his hazard lights as oppossed to his strobes?

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