Both sides of a scuffle between a fire company lieutenant and a state trooper apologized to each other at the scene of a crash on Interstate 83 on Sunday night, according to a news release from the fire company. The firefighter — apparently upset at state troopers for breaking a window during a rescue on Interstate 83 on Sunday — pushed a trooper who was escorting him from the scene, according to a state police news release. Police then took the firefighter to the ground and handcuffed him. The unnamed firefighter, who is part of the York Township Fire Company, was released, but the state police news release states, “This is an on-going investigation.”
In Pennsylvania, harassment, the charge being investigated by state police, can be a summary offense or a third-degree misdemeanor. With either one, defendants are often released without being taken to Central Booking and the charges are sent to them by mail. York Township Goodwill Fire Company issued a news release Tuesday, stating the trooper and a lieutenant with the company argued over how to best rescue the patients and that it was the trooper who pushed the lieutenant first.
Unlike the state police news release, Goodwill’s states the firefighter was released with “no charges filed.” About 7:44 p.m. on Sunday, Pennsylvania State Police and firefighters responded to a one-vehicle crash with entrapment on I-83 South near mile marker 16 in York Township. Troopers saw the male driver inside the vehicle showing signs of overdosing and were unable to open the vehicle’s doors, according to the release. Troopers then broke out a passenger side window to get into the vehicle and began administering Narcan to the driver, the release states.
“A firefighter became upset towards the troopers on scene that they were breaking the glass to provide first aid and started to yell at the troopers,” according to the release.
One of the troopers ordered the firefighter to leave the area, but he refused. “The trooper then attempted to escort the firefighter away, when the firefighter pushed the trooper away,” the release states. “The firefighter was taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs.”
The firefighter was released at the scene and police continue to investigate. The fire company’s news release said that when they arrived on the scene, they found an adult and two children trapped inside a vehicle. “It was apparent that Pennsylvania State Police Troopers (PSP) on scene were using different methods of passenger compartment access than typically used by fire service personnel as initial best practices,” the release states. The Goodwill lieutenant asked a trooper to stop breaking glass in the vehicle until the patients could be covered up with blankets for protection, according to the release.
“The PSP trooper responded with a physical push to the fire department lieutenant and demanded for the fire personnel to leave his scene,” the release states. “The Rescue Lieutenant defended the push and was subsequently tackled by the PSP Trooper and detained in handcuffs on scene.” The lieutenant was released by a state police supervisor a short time later at the scene and no charges were filed, according to the release from the fire company.
“Apologies from members of both agencies also occurred on the scene,” the release states. “In the future, members of our fire company hope that both agencies will cohesively work together to effectively manage and mitigate an emergency incident with keeping patient safety and care the foremost goal.”