Oklahoma Fire Chief Incident from May 16

Discussion in 'Weather In The News' started by Tony Laubach, May 16, 2017.

  1. Tony Laubach

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  2. Jamie G Cox

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    Wow. What post are you speaking of that has the details? I'm curious as to what actually went down.

    Edit: the link finally showed up for me.

    Was he angry at the fact you were a storm chaser or impeding emergency services or what?

    Edit 2: Very unprofessional and childish behavior to not even explain the situation. That's an insane way to respond to you trying to travel down a road, not to mention dangerous sitting in the middle of the road with very limited visibility.
     
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    #2 Jamie G Cox, May 16, 2017
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  3. Tony Laubach

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    He didn't take the time to explain...
     
  4. Chad M

    Chad M EF0

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    As soon as he started pounding on my car, I would have accelerated, over the top of him if need be.

    No way of knowing that this guy was any kind of law enforcement/EMS.
     
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  5. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Resident meteorological expert
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    I can't confirm this for sure, but I saw a white utility truck that very much resembled that truck blow a stop sign at E1240 Rd and N1940 Rd west of Carter just as that tornado was really ramping up. He was going north, so it times up with your video pretty well. That may very well have been that same person. I remember being alarmed at how aggressively that truck went through that intersection - it was not smooth and he was probably going 40 or more. Something is not right at all about this situation...
     
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  6. Glen Heinz

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    I don't know why exactly. But I'm having a hard time with your Link posted. So here it is again.

    My 2¢. This maybe a miss interpretation of a person trying to save your life. Or as he sees it stopping a person from driving to his death. Which he has no idea who you are or what you are trying to do. Trying to get all of your attention focused on him. So as delaying you, from moving forward. Acting like a crazy man. He sure did it. This could be what he was doing. Yes, there are other ways to do this. I'll agree with you on that point. I can't tell what he is saying when he steps out of the view of the camera. Do you remember? I do see in the video he is trying to tell you to turn around "Get outa Here!". I think he says. Yes I know he says more then that. But I'm not gonna post those few words. Wish I could hear the rest of it. I'm also giving him the benefit of the doubt...

    Hey Tony if you don't know this Person. How do you know he is a Fire Chief from Carter? Also is your vehicle decked out with instruments?
     
  7. Tony Laubach

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    I do not feel there is any benefit of the doubt... this man was aggressively violent, screaming obscenities that, no, I cannot recall hearing over the weather outside, nor was I about to open a window to him after he tried opening my door once. I do not see how you can even begin to think he has any right to act in that manner. Period, I don't see how you can even begin to think that seeing this video.

    And I won't go all out and make assumptions on this man's Meteorological knowledge, but I am leaning toward none, or too little to "save my life".

    I don't know this person, however from the original post I made about this incident posting a screen grab of the guy, he was identified by several responding to that post. If they're wrong and he isn't a civil servant, well... yeah...

    No, I do not have a "look at me" vehicle.
     
  8. JamesCaruso

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    Tony, I'm sorry you had to experience this. That is a really screwed up scene. It's still not clear to me from the FB post/comments whether or not he is a legitimate emergency management "official," but if so he was clearly unprofessional. Perhaps he was just panicking, but for someone in that line of work, being professional by definition means *not* panicking.

    I really worry about having to deal with stuff like this while chasing; as if there aren't enough things that could keep a chase from being safe and successful, now we have to add stuff like this to the list. I just have to hope it's rare enough that it won't happen to me, but again I'm sorry it happened to you.

    I think the broader issue of roadblocks needs to be addressed. El Reno was the first time I heard about roadblocks actually preventing people from escaping the path of a tornado, and now this type of thing at least anecdotally seems to be happening more and more. What can we as a chaser community do to raise the visibility of the issue of emergency officials with no knowledge of storm behavior/evolution making split second decisions of which roads to block??


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Bob Schafer

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    I think the guy may have been flying high on some sort of drugs. I really do. I sure wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt, but I wouldn't have run him over, either. Man, you just never know what's going to happen out there. I'm glad it didn't get any uglier than that, Tony, and I'm glad you took and posted that vid.
     
  10. Austin Davis

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    That vehicle had zero markings, he had no emergency lights - red and blues are legal on POV if you are stopped in Oklahoma, and he was wearing no high-viz traffic vest.

    Simply blocking a road like this is unacceptable! The guy clearly has no idea what he is doing. I volunteer as a first responder with the local Emergency Management office, and can say we have rules that we must follow closely. So many safety hazards present in the video above, and laws likely broken.

    The ONLY time I would block a road is if there was debris (downed power lines, trees etc.) that posed an immediate threat to public safety, my vehicle would also have emergency lighting lit up. I would also be wearing my vest - see profile pic to the left.
     
  11. Greg Flint

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    Has he apologized yet?
     
  12. Tony Laubach

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  13. Greg Flint

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    ^^ WOW - He came REALLY close to nailing your passenger side. You swerved JUST enough out of the way. Holy Smokes.
     
  14. Chris Kerby

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    Just your average ordinary everyday crazy psychotic fire chief in an unmarked vehicle trying to save a soccer dad's life with his fists.
     
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  15. Glen Heinz

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    This looks like the Guy.
    Chad Rippatoe, maybe?
    195ffcfada7ef9d7d023118afb33912a.jpg

    I see what's going on here now. It's a case of bad timing. Tony just happens to be going by emergency vehicles. That's not correct. They have markings and lights that are flashing and turned on. You're suppose to pull over and stop. Instead you went by them. Just as they are putting up a road block. As you see in the video. Tony veers off to the left going into the oncoming lane. If this guy is the fire chief? He was on his way to be first on scene. To coordinate efforts for this emergency event. I think they, radio ahead. Said someone ran the blockade or got by. Afterwards you come up behind him. He blocks you and tells in other words "Get out of here! Turn around!" I would be careful about this Mr. Laubach. This could come back on you...

    I'm sorry this happened to you Tony. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I'm looking at this as objectively as I can. Thank you, for sharing this with us. For what it's worth, I'm a Retired Law Enforcement Officer...
     
  16. Warren Faidley

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    I'm sorry that is not a road block, at least not yet. We all pass emergency vehicles carefully on the left. Blocking roads without professional meteorology experience and knowledge is extremely dangerous and will lead to mass casualties. This comes from both an EMS professional and 30 year chaser. I've often had to maneuver towards dangerous storms to avoid a worse one behind me... El Reno for example. I was also blocked yesterday from responding to a reported disaster by some flunky road worker. This insane mentality of just blocking roads for no damn reason will come to no good. Tony did nothing wrong here and I stand up for him 100 percent.
     
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  17. Bob Schafer

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    Regardless, that confrontation could have very easily ended very badly, with someone as out of control as that guy was. Trying to pull open some stranger's door... wow.
     
  18. Steve Burre

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    OKLAHOMA
    State law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including wreckers, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do, or slow to a speed safe for road, weather, and traffic conditions.

    ----

    What I'm seeing is you barely missing the emergency vehicle by either not getting completely out of the right lane or slowing to an absolute crawl when entering this group of vehicles (not sure if I can accurately estimate the speed here, but if 30 mph then that is way too fast for that particular situation). Was it really worth trying to shave 10 seconds off travel time by not slowing down more?

    Not surprised that he called ahead and told the fire chief that some guy almost clipped him and that the fire chief was pissed because of that.

    That said, some guy trying to pull open a door really isn't very smart considering the number of people in Texas (and I assume Oklahoma) with handguns in their cars.
     
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  19. Todd Lemery

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    Here's the deal. Tony passed on the left of an emergency vehicle pulled over to the side of the road. Perfectly legal. Think of a LEO having someone pulled over for speeding. When that guy, I don't care who he was, impeded traffic by swerving over to block the path of oncoming traffic, he should be ticketed for that. He may say he was acting in the best interest of public safety, but as Warren pointed out, if someone doesn't have some meteorology background AND access to the latest weather updates, then they may be doing more harm than good when they try to block a road. Having a safe route blocked by an idiot when a new circulation grows behind you isn't a good thing. Further more, he should also face disorderly conduct charges for his behavior after he got out of his pickup. There's absolutely no excuse in this situation for him to act like a Doberman on steroids when he got out of his pickup.
    This clown ought to consider his own safety when he pulls a stunt like this. Tony handled this in a much gentler way than many others would have. To come at someone like that in a very threatening way, could lead to repurcussions he obviously hadn't considered.
    Even in a worst case scenario, where Tony runs a legit roadblock, (which I don't believe occurred) this person handled things like a two year old getting his blanket taken away. This person was just a guy in a white pickup wearing jeans, a polo shirt and baseball cap trying to act like a LEO in full uniform and driving an official vehicle. It's not hard to envision where the intentions of either person are comepletely misunderstood on some back country road in the middle of nowhere.
    If Jeff Duda wants me to stop my forward progress on a road, it's one thing. If it's just some guy who I don't even know graduated third grade wants me to stop, it's a completely different scenario...
     
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  20. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    I would have done the exact same thing if I came upon a scene like that. Nothing indicating a roadblock. Passing at a slow speed.

    I think we are beginning to see the source for so much anti-chaser sentiment: a select few LEO and EMs with unreasonable expectations and a deeply troubling anger management problem triggered by even the slightest perceived infringement on their delusions of absolute, unlimited power.

    No reasonable person would find Tony's actions out of line, unless they are in the aforementioned category. If you are and you're in the LEO or EMS profession, perhaps it should be grounds for your removal from that position.

    Again I say to these wayward officials, chasers have video of everything, as this proves yet again. Add perjury charges to the list if you try to take these lies into a court setting instead of just to a Slate reporter.
     
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    #20 Dan Robinson, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  21. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    So, now that I've had time to review this in detail, here's what it looks like happened:

    1.) Two firefighters disregard protocol for setting up a roadblock, almost causing an accident with Tony's vehicle in the process.

    2.) The firefighters in the first incident lie about it, radioing that a chaser had almost hit them while blowing their (not yet existing) roadblock.

    3.) The fire chief, upon hearing this on the radio, reacted when Tony reached his location (the second incident or the first video posted).

    It appears the instigator of this whole thing was the firefighter at the first "roadblock" who transmitted on the radio the false account about what had just happened. The chief's reaction probably would not be that out of line had the events transpired like they were portrayed to him, so I don't necessarily blame him for how he treated Tony at the second location..

    Had an accident occurred, the firefighters would have been found at fault. Even with no accident, given the video it is possible that they may face consequences for creating the hazardous situation.

    This is why it is so important to run a dashcam or Gopro - *anything* during your entire chase. You never know when something like this might happen to you, where legal/financial consequences and your reputation depend on you being able to prove the truth.
     
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    #21 Dan Robinson, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  22. Warren Faidley

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    I might suggest the man gets some type of PTS assistance instead of being arrested, etc. A lot of training I have received in both regular EMS and especially the tactical side is to recognize when someone around you is having issues. This type of anger, especially the physical pounding of the hood and trying to open the door is a red flag. Far worse things can happen with unchecked PTS. I'm hoping someone from the department sees this video and the man gets help. The majority of LEO and EMS people we interact with still appreciate spotters and chasers in general. I was with a group of chasers in Conway yesterday before the storms and we had a good time taking with, informing and even joking with some local LEO and Highway Patrol officers. Don't let a few bad apples speak for every authority figure. They still have a tough job to do.
     
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  23. Jason Boggs

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    I would have done the exact same thing as Tony did. If any of you think Tony blew through a road block, you're crazy. As most have mentioned, they may have been getting ready to set up a road block, but one was not set up yet when Tony passed by. As for the moron that acted like a little kid, he needs a boot in his ass.
     
  24. Jason Boggs

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    Did a bit of research....It was Chad Rippetoe. Here is his latest post on FB...

    I would like to start with that we lost a friend yesterday day. We as rule Oklahoma are blessed to be in a community were everyone is aquatinted. Next I would like to comment on video posted yesterday.we as volunteer fire-ems do not do it for the money,fame, or glory. We do it for our comunity and surrounding communitys we grew up in.out of 30-40 storm chasers (thrill seekers) we had one run buy two of our volunteer fire trucks with lights on ,nearly hitting one of our brothers .we communicate on radios and everyone in our area heard what had happend.we as volunteer firemen get up from family to go help the public . In witch we were the department that found the man and friend that lost his life.as a close friend to the family it was hard for me and our department because we wish we could have done more.we are one big family in western Oklahoma And we stand together in time of need.

    we do have local news and weather teams in Oklahoma that stand beside us when we need them. not one out of town storm chaser ever stopped and ask any of our community if they were ok. If you are local or are in our area and u see a local fire- ems or responder stop and thank them . Also remember they do it for nothing gett up ,go protect your house in the middle of the night and help your loved one during a time of need.

    Small time western oklahoma with BIG time heart.we believe in God , family and friends .we are all one family in fire service so put one of our firman or emergency responders in harms way , you messed with family. Not posting this see how many views it gets posting for all our fire family that has our back when we need them I hope the next time you see a fire -emergency responder stop and thank them that's all they need
    God bless western Oklahoma, and the people in our community.
     
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  25. Bob Schafer

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    So, if anybody died, you are thereafter free to say or do anything, because, well, somebody died.
     
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