After a California Highway Patrol officer handcuffed a Chula Vista firefighter for refusing to move his engine at the scene of a crash, the chiefs of both agencies said in a statement Wednesday that they shared the “utmost respect” for each other’s missions.
The incident occurred at the scene of a rollover crash Tuesday night. The CHP officer had ordered the firefighter to move a fire truck because he felt it was unsafely blocking a lane of traffic at the scene of a collision on Interstate 805.
The fire truck had arrived at the scene of the accident before the CHP. The driver, a 12-year veteran of the Fire Department, was parked behind an ambulance that was loading patients for transport to a hospital.
When the firefighter refused to immediately move the truck, saying he needed to confer with his captain, the CHP officer handcuffed the firefighter and put him in the back of a patrol car, where he remained for about 30 minutes. No arrest was made.
The incident was caught on film and shown on local television.
On Wednesday, Chula Vista Fire Chief Dave Hanneman and CHP Chief Jim Abele met to discuss the incident. After the meeting, neither side admitted fault, but the two issued a joint statement expressing “utmost respect for each other and our respective missions.”
They went on to call it “an isolated incident” that would be the topic of future joint training sessions, “in an ongoing effort to work more efficiently together.”
Before the joint statement was issued, the Chula Vista fire chief issued an individual statement saying, “I am very proud of how Engineer Jacob Gregoire and the other firefighters on the scene handled the situation.”