Discussion in 'Weather In The News' started by Tony Laubach, May 16, 2017.
According to Chad, he thinks he can.
My hope is that as Tony's dashcam video of the initial incident becomes more widely spread and as tempers cool, the vitriol against him will turn. He is so clearly vindicated by the video that even other firefighters are chiming in on social media to argue for Tony and point out that the two FD trucks were at fault for creating the incident. Most of the sentiment against Tony is coming from friends and family of the firefighters directly involved.
Right now emotions are running high, but in the coming days, I feel we may see an apology as reality sets in.
Bob, THAT was my first impression too....that the guy may have been high on meth or something similar. It's very possible. But my gut tells me that he's just a 2-fisted hothead that has been given a little bit of power by the county, and by God he's gonna be the alpha-male every chance he gets. Sure....he's pissed that he had to get out of his vehicle and get drenched, but he was wayyyy over the top. He's lucky Tony wasn't outside of his vehicle too, as this guy probably would be in deep, deep legal trouble for manhandling a citizen. The outrageous, over-the-top display of anger he exhibited shows me that he likely would not have been able to contain himself, and he probably would have grabbed Tony at some point and tossed him back into his vehicle. I'm quite glad there is video evidence of this man's actions. He's got issues.....and should not be in the position he's in.
I hope you follow up with this in some manner, Tony....although it may be more trouble than it's worth. If you have already done so, I apologize for reading these posts later than most. Good luck with this.
Kind of sad, but not unexpected that he's trying to turn the entire EMS community against chasing to support / cover his bad behavior. After reading that post, maybe an arrest would be justified before other interventions.
I read the comments on the FB page under the video showing the alleged "roadblock." Very disheartening to read the mean-spirited and obscene comments against Tony. I worry there will be a backlash against chasers in that area, from LEOs / emergency management as well as the local community in general. Not talking about any sort of "official" action against chasing, that's been beaten to death on ST and I am not one to wring his hands over that; I am just talking about a general anti-chaser mentality in that immediate area and the trouble that could cause for those of us that happen through there.
Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Sounds like this guy has a clear opinion of chasers in general.
Those two videos will likely become training videos within emergency services of what NOT TO DO in this sort of situation.
If the two emergency vehicles in front of Tony had wanted to halt all traffic flow (including Tony's vehicle) in that direction of travel, then they should have done a moving road block with the emergency vehicles continuing forward travel but at very slow speed before coming to a gradual stop in the traffic lane. Pulling to the shoulder as they did is indicative of "getting out of the way". Those guys are very fortunate they didn't cause a collision when they abruptly swung the noses of their vehicles back into traffic. Trying to block the road at a perpendicular angle generally is only a good idea when someone isn't immediately behind you.
It is no problem at all for even one emergency vehicle to control traffic, provided the operator knows what he or she is doing. A lone police officer could have easily handled that situation by straddling the centerline and moving along at about 10 mph with lights flashing and using hand signals to indicate intent. We've all seen it done before. There was no need for the epic cluster evident in the videos.
As to that fire chief, all I can do is shake my head. As the leader of the department, it is his responsibility to ensure the other members are adequately trained for emergency operations. The firefighters tasked with setting up the roadblock may very well have been young and inexperienced, which is common with volunteer departments. They probably didn't know any better. It is the chief's responsibility to get his/her people up to speed. Rather than nearly causing a collision and beating on someones hood in a fit of rage, that chief would be better served going forward if he instituted a better training program for his people on how to better handle these kind of fluid situations.
I have been actively involved in the fire service as a volunteer for over 20 years, and have served in various capacities, including safety officer and chief. I am appalled by this guy's actions. Our job is to protect the public, not to further endanger them. I am not a huge fan of blocking highways in the first place and think it should only be done in extreme circumstances. But if you are going to do it, then at least do so using common sense and good judgment. Neither of those characteristics were on display in this incident, unfortunately. Also, if that chief continues to behave in that manner, sooner or later he is going to encounter someone who is as much of a hothead as he is and someone is going to get hurt or worse. A good leader leads by their example, not by throwing around their weight and authority.
Due to the excessive amount of harassing, vulgar, and/or irrelevant comments to the posts on my Facebook page, I have removed the three posts related to the incident. However I will be posting the videos along with a description of the event on my personal website in the coming days which will include the videos I posted to Facebook.
But I had to rid of those posts as comments were getting out of hand. I have also temporarily closed down the ability to receive messages on that page due to the harassing nature of some people.
^ That's a shame, I hope those jerks don't think they "won" by getting you to remove those posts - and the evidence
Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Maybe they'll sweat thinking I'm up to something... the evidence is still plenty here, and the report I am going to write up will be very detailed as well.
Fortunately you have facts and law by your side...
Tony, I plan to blog about this as well - looking forward to your post.
I love what his wife had to say: "I'll start by saying that Chad can be the most irritating, hard headed, stubborn, irrational man on the planet!"
"Now about that photo!!! Not the best and definitely not that most flattering but hey have any of you ever seen our family Christmas pictures!!! That photo caught him in a moment of anger (I think Gary & I are the only ones to have ever witnessed it)"
This is typical 'groupthink' fodder among the locals, and it's probably not unexpected given the rural, tight-knit atmosphere where this happened. I doubt you'll get many locals to see it from a more rational point of view. These people are local legends in the eyes of some. If he murdered someone, you'd still have the community split. I'd be surprised if anyone in local law enforcement was sympathetic to Tony's view either.
Just an update for those who still have any interest in last week's incident..
I returned home yesterday and am going through the event today... my hope is by tonight or tomorrow to have a write-up on my website detailing the incident, namely the lack of roadblock and of course the run-in with the fire fighter further up the road.
In addition, I plan to personally reach out to the Volunteer Fire Department privately on the matter before pursuing anything further. I have been advised by a variety of professional and other council that actions need to be address by the department, and right now, I feel it is in my best interest to work directly with them to move forward on the process. However if they continue to see this without fault on their own, then it may result in this being pursued to further levels. Aside from small nit-icky items, I have been told by a number of reliable and official sources that they do not have any grounds to come at me for legal actions, and have a list of reasons in my favor that support that. As of now, nothing has been brought against me.
This incident does provide ample proof as to the importance of running some form of video. I feel that what I captured of that event clears me of any wrong-doing, and hopefully will lead to departments such as this reviewing their policies on situations such as this.
As for the communities who have been relentless against me since the incident, I sadly agree that regardless of the proof shown in my defense, I will forever be viewed in the wrong. While I in NO way excuse the actions of the department, I do feel as if the few bad apples of chasing combined with the department's inability to properly manage that situation lead to what I experienced. The reputation of storm chasing by those few bad apples gives these departments the ammunition to profile any storm chaser, and I happened to catch the fire of this one. While I am not perfect, and think anyone saying that is acting on a cop-out, because that is NOT the issue; there are countless examples of recklessness, needlessly aggressive behavior, lack of respect toward communities and those affected by storms, and other chaser-related issues that when combined with the overwhelming numbers of people on these rural roads leads to issues just like this. I paid the price for a lot of behavior that I am not responsible for, and have been found guilty by association. While I respect everyone's freedom to do what they want, this does bring about the other side of the coin that we as a community of our own need to get our shit together. We have had more than enough wake-up calls over the last few years and it's time we do a better job of representing ourselves.
So next time you do something stupid, and you get called out for it and decide to use the excuse "I'm not hurting anyone but myself", ask me about those two nights in my hotel room in breakdowns over the relentless amount of hatred that flooded every manner of communication for the better part of 48 hours. And remember what I did NOT do on that day to deserve to take that punishment.
And of course, nothing what I went through even holds a candle to the already-occurred worst case scenario that occurred back in April. No one ever needs to go through that again.
This is a two-sided story folks, and both sides need to address issues. Everyone needs to step up and start being accountable, cause I will be damned if I ever go through this again for someone else.
Best of luck to you to resolve this issue, Tony. I hope I'm not the only one on this forum (or in the community) who would very much like to be kept in the loop, so to speak, as far as how your conflict resolution goes with this incident. Like others have said, this could have happened to any one of us, but you just happened to be the unfortunate scapegoat in this instance. Therefore, this incident is relevant to all of us; so again, please keep us informed as to how things go.
Finally, on a personal note, I reviewed my own video from that day (I was in the same area and time) and I believe I not only witnessed that same individual acting in a careless and aggressive manner at other times not related to your specific incident, but I may have some video evidence of it, too. So if you need additional evidence from others, I may be able to offer something.
Tony, thanks for the update. I am in support of you and I'm sure most in the community are as well.
Where can we find the video since the previous links are dead? I want to throw this chief into the shark tank of libertarians just reading the comments but I reserve judgement until I see what happened.
I removed them from my Facebook page due to the comments being spread on both sides, and the influx of hate mail I was receiving. They will be posted on my analysis page that I am doing along with a write-up of what I observed as well as a frame-by-frame analysis of key moments.
Looking forward to it. This might be a good case study on why local officials shouldn't close roads unless the road is blocked or somebody died. But that is a topic for another time and place.
As a 31 year police officer, I wouldn't have a problem with what you did Tony. I'm a storm spotter, not a chaser. Unless I get a direct order from a superior, I'd just let you all go. You guys know the science, and from what I read there was no reckless driving to endanger. I too would have blown that guy off. Not to mention give him a mouth full of knuckles for trying to enter my car. Plus, if he was a firefighter or police officer they should have some form of ID to prove it. Don't sweat the few morons that are out there. Keep up the good work.
Good for you for standing up for what is right. Don't let anyone tell you that you did anything wrong. I know how it is to be completely right and justified in a situation and how doubt can creep in and cloud your mind. I feel sad for anyone who defends the actions of this individual if they have seen the evidence. The videos are 100% proof of your proper behavior and would hold up in any legal setting. The bad apples should be weeded out, but you are not one of them.
Having been home and back to work, I learned that in addition to the city Mayor, Chad's wife called my station to complain. She justified his actions by stating that the department does not have the funding for vehicles/emergency lights/etc. Apparently the Mayor started pretty hot and simmered, but per my boss, the wife was less friendly.