Saturday, April 20, 2013
Mayor Sally Hutton on Friday suspended Richmond Fire Department Chief Mike Crawley for a week after Crawley was charged with a misdemeanor for his alleged role in a recent altercation.
Crawley and Chad King of Centerville both were charged Friday with one count of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct after the incident, which took place on April 8 in the 100 block of South First Street in Centerville.
Hutton said Crawley has been suspended with pay for seven days, effective Friday.
“Today, I suspended Mike for a week, so Jared Rudy is in charge (of the fire department) for the next seven days,” Hutton said. “There probably won’t be anything else done until we see what happens in the court system.”
Centerville Town Council President Dan Wandersee said Crawley, who is a fellow town council member, always has been a team player during his tenure on the board and that no action has been taken against Crawley to date.
“There aren’t any provisions (about removal from the board) unless it is a felony,” Wandersee said. “I just hope they get this resolved. Mike has always been in tune with what we’re trying to accomplish in town.
“He called the day after the incident and spoke with me and we had a conversation about things. Right now, we want to see what transpires before we act.”
According to witnesses at the scene, Crawley and King engaged in an altercation, with some witnesses saying both men threw punches while others said they didn’t see any punches thrown but Crawley was spitting blood at King and telling him to leave his wife alone.
Crawley told police he was struck at least three times by King, which caused injuries to his nose and at least one tooth, which was chipped. King told authorities Crawley struck and spit on him during the incident.
Crawley and King each have initial court appearances set for 8:30 a.m. on April 30 in Wayne County Superior Court III.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Officials with the Greenwood Hose Company, that serves Moosic, went to State Police back in February to report a large amount of missing money. Now we know it was one of the department’s own, the former board president, who’s accused of stealing almost $400,000 from the hose company over the past several years.
Bill Sweeney is a Moosic councilman and a business owner, and is often described as a genuine guy and a good volunteer. He walked humbly into a magistrate’s office in Carbondale.
Sweeney was arraigned on charges of theft and forgery for crimes he admits he committed over several years while serving as board president at the Greenwood Hose Company in Moosic.
“This, in all honesty, resulted from a gambling issue. Casinos came into town, property tax relief for a lot of people but a lot of addictions for a lot of people, and this is one of them,” said Sweeney’s attorney Bill Peters.
Peters explained why Sweeney took almost $400,000 from the hose company’s main bank account. But, authorities still don’t know how the missing money went unnoticed for seven years.
Earlier this year, other volunteer firefighters noticed hefty checks written out to Sweeney and to his business Bitty Bill’s ice cream shop on Birney Avenue in Moosic.
According to court papers, Sweeney funneled money from the hose company to Bitty Bill’s and even opened up a credit card in the hose company’s name.
Newswatch 16 spoke to many people in Moosic who said Sweeney is a prominent member of the community, a business owner and a borough councilman.
Borough Council President Joseph Mercatili said Sweeney is still a councilman. But, they’ll discuss his status at the next council meeting.
An attorney for Greenwood Hose Company said the fire department is audited every few years by the state. But Sweeney’s accused of forging signatures on checks and that may be why the theft wasn’t caught sooner.
The money was taken from the department’s main checking account where donations from the public were deposited.
“You really don’t know where the money goes, you hope it goes there but you really don’t know where the collections go when they take money for different things, you really don’t know,” said Catherine Drost of Moosic, who regularly contributes to Greenwood Hose Company.
Even though there are still a lot of questions about why the theft went on for so long, prosecutors say they don’t expect anyone else to be charged.
Bill Sweeney was released on bail, he’s expected back in court later this month
Friday, April 19, 2013
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
A 27-year-old firefighter at Naval Air Station Mayport has been arrested after St. Augustine police said he beat a man walking across the Bridge of Lions earlier this month.
Joseph Scaglione, of Neptune Beach, is charged with battery. He was arrested by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office while at work at the Fire Department at Mayport and booked into the Duval County jail on a St. Johns County warrant.
Police said Scaglione was seen stopping his motorcycle on the Bridge of Lions on April 7 and beating a local man while he walked across the bridge.
The victim and two witnesses picked Scaglione out of a photo lineup as the person who committed the battery, police said.
Friday, April 19, 2013
SPRINGFIELD TWP, OH
A Springfield Township fire lieutenant has been fired for — among other things — showing a picture of his penis to a female firefighter.
Township trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to fire Jason Bowman of Swanton for conduct unbecoming of an officer, dereliction of duty, and sexual harassment, Fire Chief Barry Cousino said.
The termination stemmed from a complaint filed by a Springfield Township firefighter who said Mr. Bowman had showed her a picture of his penis while on duty and later sent her a sexually explicit text message, Chief Cousino said.
Mr. Bowman was suspended March 28; Chief Cousino was unsure when the initial report was made.
While investigating the allegations, the department scanned Mr. Bowman’s work computer at Station 53 on Garden Road and found pornographic videos, Chief Cousino said.
The chief said he’s never had to deal with a similar situation in his 17 years in command of the department. “I just want to send a message that I’m not going to tolerate it during my tenure,” he said.
Mr. Bowman, 39, has been affiliated with the department since 1994, first as a volunteer, then as a part-time firefighter, then full-time. He became a lieutenant in 2008, according to department records. When contacted for this story, Mr. Bowman said “no comment,” then hung up the phone.
Chief Cousino alleged Mr. Bowman admitted to showing the firefighter a picture of his penis.
“It wasn’t a case of he said, she said. He admitted to it,” he contended .
While Chief Cousino said he was not aware of any previous allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Bowman, this wasn’t the first time Mr. Bowman has been disciplined by the department.
A string of discipline references in Mr. Bowman’s personnel file includes failure to complete required equipment inspections, failure to complete reports on time, open arguments with officers about firefighting tactics, failure to show for a scheduled shift, tardiness, sharing of his concerns about disciplinary decisions with subordinates, and aggressive driving.
In his file are also several correspondences from department members and firefighters in other departments complaining about Mr. Bowman’s alleged conduct, including his confrontation with a firefighter from another department about that person’s alleged affair, demeaning behavior to subordinates, and an allegation Mr. Bowman was visibly intoxicated and obnoxious at a downtown Toledo bar while wearing a Springfield Fire Department shirt.
Chief Cousino said he believes Mr. Bowman plans to grieve his termination.
Attempts to reach union leader Greg May, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3544, for comment were unsuccessful.
Friday, April 19, 2013
An Institute volunteer firefighter has been arrested on a felony warrant issued in Florida on charges of soliciting a minor online.
Kanawha County sheriff's Cpl. Brian Humphreys says deputies arrested 29-year-old Justin Todd Adkinson at the fire station Tuesday. He's charged with using a computer to solicit a minor and transmit information harmful to a minor.
Humphreys says the warrant was issued in St. Johns County, Florida A task force contacted the sheriff's department about the charges.
Adkinson is being held without bond in the South Central Regional Jail pending an extradition hearing. Jail records didn't indicate whether Adkinson has an attorney.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
ST LOUIS, MO
The chief of the Kinloch Fire Protection District has been charged with using district money without authorization.
Chief Darran Kelley was charged Wednesday with the unauthorized use of more than $140,000 between January 2007 and January 11, 2013. He is also charged with making a false statement connected to his receipt of Social Security disability payments, and three felony counts of wire fraud.
The indictment alleges the district had a bank account for the receipt and disbursement of district money. The district received around $160,361 in tax revenue from St. Louis County which was distributed by the City of Kinloch to the bank account for payroll and operations.
Kelley, 47, is accused of participating in a scheme in which he made unauthorized cash withdrawals from the account for personal use, including purchasing various personal items and gambling. He is also accused of transferring money from the district bank account to make payments on his personal Mastercard credit card.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the district $237,500 in June 2010 to cover 95 percent of the total cost of a fire engine, based on an application Kelley submitted. The City of Kinloch chipped in $15,000 of city funds to cover the district's responsibility of paying five percent of the cost. According to the indictment, some of that money was later used by Kelley for personal items and gambling.
In April 2011, the district was unable to pay the insurance premium on the new fire engine, which was reported to be around $2,322. Private citizens made donations to the district, which exceeded the amount needed to pay the premium. Kelley is accused of taking the leftover money, depositing it into the district bank account, and then later using it to pay for personal items and gambling.
During the alleged incidents, the district had outstanding bills from Ameren, American Water, AT&T, and North Central County Fire Alarm System for dispatch services. Some of these bills went unpaid, and some services were reduced or cut off.
Kelley has been fire chief since 2002. The indictment states that on August 15, 2000 he started receiving monthly disability payments from the Social Security Administration for a personal medical condition. He was ordered to immediately report and work and income to verify his continued disability, but the indictment states he failed to report his work for the fire department and made a false statement July 26, 2011 on his Continuing Disability Review Report.
If convicted, Kelley faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for each wire fraud charge, up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for using district money for personal use, and up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for making a false statement about his disability payments.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A volunteer medic in N.C. has been placed on administrative suspension after Twitter posts about suicidal patients.
WNCT | 9 On Your Side Greenville NC
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According to WNCT News, one of the tweets by Lindsey Merritt, 23, read, "If you call 911 suicidal I'm not sure what you're trying to gain. I'm not going to talk u out of it. I'm prob going to tell u how to do it right."
Another tweet read, "Just another day and another sacrifice busting *** to save someone's unappreciative, pathetic excuse for a life. #bitter #ill."
The account, which is now de-activated, is stirring up questions of whether Merritt, Eastern Pines EMS, should be allowed to work in the medical field, according to WNCT News.
Merritt initially said the Twitter account was private and the tweets in question were obtained by someone who did not have her permission. She told the station she was upset about a close friend committing suicide, which promoted the posts, according to the report.
However, the second time WNCT News spoke to Merritt, she denied the account was hers but issued apology.
"I'm there to treat the patient and I am very sorry for any misunderstandings on anyone's part about my feelings towards people with any psychological issues," she said. "That I have family and friends that battle psychological issues. That my issue is the people who put a negative connotation with it by faking it and doing it for attention."
Eastern Pines EMS Chief Gene Powell told the station he is aware of the situation and has put Merritt on administrative suspension awaiting a meeting with their Board of Directors.
"Even though she is a volunteer, she is still held to the same standards as any paid employee. This is not typical of our organization and we hold ourselves to a higher standard than this," he said.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The chief of the Readstown Fire Department has been charged with felony misconduct in public office and misdemeanor theft.
In a criminal complaint filed April 12, Phillip R. Townsend, 44, admitted to authorities he charged $500 in fuel to the fire department’s account for his personal vehicle.
“[Townsend] said he is currently out of a job and that was why he was having a tough time making his medical appointments and paying for fuel,” according to the complaint.
An investigation into Townsend’s use of the fire department’s account was requested by other officers of the fire department and carried out by the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department.
An initial appearance in Townsend’s case has been scheduled in Vernon County Circuit Court, May 8 at 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CA
Fire Capt. Art Hurtado was making an off-duty visit to a home improvement store when he encountered a horrific sight — a man had deliberately cut his own arms to the bone with handsaws.
As others screamed, the veteran paramedic used materials from store shelves to stanch the bleeding.
"I kind of MacGyver-ed it," Hurtado said Thursday, referring to the old TV drama about a secret agent who used whatever materials he could find to solve problems.
The incident occurred Wednesday inside a Home Depot store in West Covina, a suburb east of Los Angeles. The man was all by himself when he injured himself, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said.
The victim of the self-mutilation remained hospitalized as investigators tried to determine why he hurt himself. As of now, the incident is being investigated as an attempted suicide.
The man, whose name wasn't released, underwent surgery and was in intensive care. Doctors were able to reattach his arms but will have to wait to see how effectively they were able to reconnect blood vessels and muscle as the man recovers, Lopez said.
"We don't know anything about his history, motive, concerns at this point," Lopez said. Police declined to release the man's identity.
Police said the man had grabbed several small saws, including one meant to cut drywall.
Hurtado, 51, who works for the Pasadena Fire Department, had stopped by the store with his wife to pick up material to replace the trim on his daughter's house.
He noticed police cars as he arrived. When officers pulled on medical gloves, Hurtado followed them into the store.
"It's just mayhem in there," he recalled. 'Somebody's screaming in there as they're approaching the door that there's blood everywhere."
Hurtado saw blood in several aisles and people running around hysterically.
He walked down an aisle and saw police officers next to a man lying face down in a pool of blood.
"It looks like a crime scene to me, a dead body," he said. "There's splatter everywhere, I'd say another 50, 75 feet of blood."
Hurtado told the store manager that he was a paramedic, and he was allowed to move in. He and the officers flipped the man over. He was barely breathing and had no neck pulse.
Hurtado knew he had to do something.
"I'm not on duty, I don't have all the equipment that I normally have," he said.
The 21-year veteran called for quarter-inch rope and said he would have used his shoelaces if none was available. Somebody grabbed a package of rope from a store shelf. Hurtado had a police officer cut 24-inch sections and he used it and shop towels to make a tourniquet for one arm.
The man started to come around, moaning, and arriving West Covina paramedics took over.
Hurtado, who was working without protective gloves, cleaned up with hand sanitizer.
He said the man had cut through nerves, tendons and arteries to the bone above both elbows. Without fast medical help, he could have died, Hurtado said.
"It's just things you do instinctively. I'm here to serve," he said. "Any one of my brothers and sisters in the department would have done the same thing."
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
A city firefighter was arrested Wednesday night on charges of robbing a store in Carrick, Pittsburgh police said.
Joe Caimi is accused in the robbery that occurred shortly before 8 p.m. at the Uni-Mart on Brownsville Road, police said. Preliminary reports are that police arrested Caimi after a gun used in the holdup and left behind was traced to him.
According to the criminal complaint, Caimi is facing several charges including carrying a firearm without a license, robbery, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
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