Firefighter Arrested by CHP Officer During Rescue at Crash Site

Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 01:06 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A firefighter was arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) after he refused to move his emergency vehicle from a lane after being ordered to do so by police. The firefighter was assisting a crash victim at the time of this arrest.

The dispute and arrest were caught on camera by a CBS 8 News crew which was at the scene covering the accident on Wednesday.

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In a video, 36-year-old firefighter Jacob Gregoire, a 12 year member of the Chula Vista Fire Department, is handcuffed and led away by an unidentified highway patrolman.

"It's unbelievable you have to do this," the cop says as he slaps the cuffs on Gregoire.

"It's unbelievable that you guys have to treat us like this," Gregoire responded to the cop in the video. "We are on the road trying to help people."

"We asked you. We asked you to clear the road and you said no, and you are getting arrested for not moving it," the cop snapped back before leading the firefighter away from the camera.

During the exchange, Gregoire's fellow firefighters are seen assisting victims at the scene from the rollover accident. The crash victims were taken to an area hospital, but their conditions were not reported.

In addition to not providing the police officer's name, CHP would not say whether the officer was reprimanded for his decision to handcuff and detain a first responder while he was attending to victims at the scene, CBS 8 noted.

The CHP and Chula Vista Fire Department met Wednesday afternoon, after which they released a joint statement to the media.

"Last night there was an unfortunate incident at the scene of a traffic collision on I-805," the statement read. "Both the CHP and the Chula Vista Fire Department share a common goal of protecting the public and. . . have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions. This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal."

Though there have been disagreements between the two departments in the past, this is reportedly the first time a patrolman has arrested a firefighter for a disagreement at the scene of an accident.

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