Oklahoma Fire Chief Incident from May 16

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

  1. Todd Lemery

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    I hail hate to even feel the need to bring this up. I've been at work at my department when even when we have our turnout gear on, holding signs, cones out and our fire trucks lighting up the sky like Broadway, we still have people driving around us and running over our hoses. Even the large diameter to the hydrants. This is at structure fires and accidents. I've never seen any of my coworkers scream, holler or in any other way lose their minds at these people.
    Now compare that to what we have seen recorded on video. No identifiable official clothing,no signs out, no cones and an individual cutting across the road in a vehicle bearing no official lighting or markings. ( this doesn't include the fire trucks pulled to the right side of the road earlier in the sequence). There is no reason for any thinking person to assume this guy is anything but some loony that's looking for trouble. Think about how you would expect someone to react if you pulled this same kind of stunt driving YOUR personal vehicle and wearing your normal clothes. It probably wouldn't go well.
    If myself, or any of my coworkers would have acted like this, we would have been fired immediately. Our coworkers wouldn't have been defending us out on social media either. There is a certain amount of professionalism that is demanded and expected. That kind of stuff is indefensible. I understand that this was a volunteer, but I was a volunteer back in the day and tried even harder to carry myself in a professional manner so as not to embarrass my department. I also understand that these individuals probably don't go out on a lot of runs and may get overly excited, but when you represent your department out on a road somewhere, you have to reel yourself in and not let your emotions take over your actions. This department needs to sit down to look at this and decide if that is how they should be represented. Blind loyalty shouldn't take precedence over what your eyes can plainly see.
    Tony, you are doing the right stuff
     
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  2. Austin Davis

    Austin Davis Member

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    Tony, do you still intend on sharing the videos again? Not to sound impatient but I would like the view the first one.

    I shared it with the Director or Emergency Management from my local county (Northeastern OK), and while he had some opinions of his own that I won't share publicly. There was an accusation you crossed a double yellow line on the highway when the fire trucks were pulled over off the side of the road. There were also a few other accusations of traffic violations - one of them being not yielding to an emergency vehicle.

    Again, I haven't studied the first video so I'm just repeating what was said.

    My own personal opinion still stands from my original post, the fire chief had no legal authority to block a public highway with his personal ranch truck! Especially given the fact he had no emergency lighting on it indicating he was either EM, fire, or deputy etc. The dude made a clear mistake and its crazy people are trying to defend that.
     
    #52 Austin Davis, May 24, 2017
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  3. Brett Roberts

    Brett Roberts Experienced Member

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    When a vehicle (emergency or otherwise) is pulled over on the shoulder on a remote section of a two-lane highway, is it not common courtesy/safety to shift over a bit (perhaps across the centerline) to give them some buffer, provided there's no oncoming traffic and you have clear visibility ahead? How about if you see a turtle coming up in the right of your own lane, and there's absolutely no reason not to shift left?

    This is something Dan Robinson alluded to in a recent discussion: the hypercritical analysis of every minor technical traffic infraction by chasers never ceases to amaze me. Austin, this obviously isn't directed at you personally, at all; I understand you're reporting someone else's opinion, and that perhaps they were simply trying to give a worst-case analysis from a legal standpoint. It just seemed like an amusing example of the kind of technicality a chaser would be chastised for, either by hostile LEOs/locals or disingenuous "rival" chasers, in this crazy climate of 2017 chasing.
     
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  4. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Some relevant information regarding "move over" laws:

    http://people.smu.edu/acambre/move_over_laws.asp

    Oklahoma's statute doesn't specify a "safe speed" as a few other states do (those that do say 20mph less than the posted speed limit), and it's clear in the video that Tony was traveling at less than 40mph, likely even less than that. I also assume that there is no issue with crossing the double yellow to pass emergency vehicles as long as there is no oncoming traffic, but I wasn't able to find a definitive answer to that. The state statutes all say to slow to a safe speed if you can't move over, as would be the case on a two-lane road with oncoming traffic.

    In this case, Tony's crossing of the double yellows was a necessary maneuver to avoid a collision, which I don't know of any statute that could be used cite him for that.
     
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  5. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Exactly - the fire/LEO/EM personnel are apparently immune from any criticism by virtue of their positions in the community, and given a free pass for any egregious behavior. Meanwhile, civilians are burdened with an expectation of perfection and a full responsibility to anticipate and compensate for actions of the "anything goes" culture afforded by an emergency vehicle's presence. Such a double standard.
     
  6. Austin Davis

    Austin Davis Member

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  7. Tony Laubach

    Tony Laubach Member

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    I will post a still when I get home... no, I had not completed the "pass" before it went double-yellow, although I personally think that's irrelevant given that both trucks had pulled clear of the right-of-way (even as it was brief) and I was operating under the "move over law" at that point.

    I am being held off on posting my report publically, which is why the delay. There are things being looked at, thus I am waiting to get the all-clear. While there is some grey area in my incident with the fire trucks, that is also irrelevant given the main focus is the fire fighter who was up the road. Nothing I did excuses that action.

    But the fire truck passing is also being looked at. Will post the still of the fire truck passing shortly.
     
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  8. Tony Laubach

    Tony Laubach Member

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    So here is the still, this was one of the frames that have both fire trucks out of the right-of-way. This didn't last long as the rear truck immediately proceeded to pull back into the right-of-way as I began my pass. My GPS log has me going at speeds between 30-35mph during this period; posted speed limit here is 65mph.

    a3079ed0ec27aa9c977d6e7176360000.jpg
     
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  9. Austin Davis

    Austin Davis Member

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    Oh look, no double lines on the highway! Ty for posting! Also they were completely off the road so totally legal to pass them. Realistically what they should have done was either performed a rolling roadblock or slowed traffic using their emergency vehicle then closed the highway, if that was truly their intention. They allowed you to pass. Its clearly evident!
     
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  10. Steve Burre

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    As I recall from the video, that fire truck was still in motion when it then tried to execute a turn back into the highway (possibly in an attempt to block the highway). From the Oklahoma DPS driver manual, we have: YOU MUST ALWAYS YIELD: <...several situations described, then>..."To emergency vehicles—Yield to police cars, fire engines, and ambulances when they are sounding a siren and/or flashing warning lights".

    That means not running them over even if they are executing a poorly conceived turn. And what is a 'safe speed' for the road conditions/situation?....almost by definition it would be a speed that would let you safely avoid an accident vs one where you fly by his driver side fender by about 2 ft. Consider yourself lucky that you weren't ticketed since I can almost guarantee that you would be found guilty by a judge in that county who more than likely probably hangs out with the police and firemen there Or you could hire a lawyer for thousands of dollars to prove that you are 'correct' based on the technicalities....and still be found guilty by a judge (or jury) in that county.
     
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    #61 Steve Burre, May 25, 2017
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  11. J Guthery

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    As somebody who has conducted more than a few safety reviews for driver accidents, trust me, he could have T-boned him and would have been found not at fault. Pulling out that close was an unsafe maneuver lights or no lights. The driver already in the roadway followed the law by slowing to 35 in a 55 and could not have been reasonably expected to stop in such a short distance. A 20mph variance is plenty. Anything less becomes a road hazard/obstruction/impediment. The driver of the emergency vehicle was in the wrong as was the chief who has no authority to do what he did. All the more reason to keep a dash cam running any time you are in motion on a highway. It will save your hide in court.
     
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  12. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    How can you be expected to yield to a completely unexpected maneuver by the other vehicle? Yield means you have a reasonable expectation of what the other vehicle will do, not any conceivable maneuver. Can a fire truck suddenly turn onto a side street at me head-on, expect me to go into the ditch to avoid a collision, and then ticket me for not yielding? And 30-35mph in a 65 is "flying by"?

    This is what I'm talking about. These officials make up their own rules of the road and their own legal definitions, then think they are above criticism or scrutiny just by virtue of their position. They have free reign to be as reckless and careless as they want, while expecting civilians to exceed perfection. When someone becomes a victim of their reckless behavior, they browbeat and bully them into silence if they complain.

    I might lose a court case in the corrupt county good-old-boy system, but be assured I'd appeal it to the state level. The county doesn't have absolute power. I'd donate to Tony's legal fund to see that the county was held accountable and made an example for others who might think of doing something like this to someone else.
     
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    #63 Dan Robinson, May 26, 2017
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  13. rdale

    rdale Member

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    Don't mean to be rude Steve - but assuming you drive a fire truck based on your reply, you may want to check with your superiors about that. I can guarantee you that "yield" doesn't mean "never ever ever drive around when on the side of the road just in case it pulls out into traffic."
     
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  14. joel ewing

    joel ewing Member

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    Just think of the hell that poor wife has had to put up with over the years. Seriously.... What a thing for her to begin her sentence with. I can only imagine what goes on in that household. There but for the grace of God....etc.
     
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  15. joel ewing

    joel ewing Member

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    You know what? This incident has finally convinced me to obtain a dash cam, and make sure I use it even during quick little errand runs, etc. "It will save your hide in court" - J.Gauthery....that's the quote that convinced me. In today's legal climate, it seems foolish not to be using one. Thanks, guys.
     
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  16. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    I've long considered buying one of those rear-view mirror assemblies that can contain a dash camera for regular daily driving. I encounter way more acts of bad, dangerous, or illegal driving around town than I care for. It would be nice to always have some evidence if/when things go wrong. I think cost is the major reason I have not moved forward with getting a dash cam.
     
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  17. James Hilger

    James Hilger Member

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    Although I have many, I have a two in one and I got the smaller camera recording my speed as well.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Stormtrack mobile app
     
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  18. J Guthery

    J Guthery Noob

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    I run one of the cheap looping cameras that films until the card is full in 5min increments and overwrites the oldest byte once full.

    But the downside is if there is a major accident and you become pinned it would eventually overwrite the event.

    Option B is the black box style using a cheap computer or even a raspberry pi in conjunction with a 1TB drive or an SSD and low - mid res camera.
     
  19. Justin Hassie

    Justin Hassie Member

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    I use a spare Android phone and the DailyRoads Voyager app. It will loop continuously over the size of storage you specify, and will auto-save if it detects an accident using the phone's accelerometer. You can also tap the screen to save the last few minutes of video.
     
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  20. J Guthery

    J Guthery Noob

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    I will have to try that.
     
  21. justinmacauley

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    I can't see the video you posted. It says private.
     
  22. Tony Laubach

    Tony Laubach Member

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    The video was removed from my Facebook due to the excessive amount of idiots posting in the threads... I am going to add it to a write-up I have done as soon as I get the all clear to repost it publicly.
     
  23. Tony Laubach

    Tony Laubach Member

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  24. Greg Flint

    Greg Flint Member

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    My belief has always been that, not only does time heal all wounds, but time allows us to look past ourselves and see how our actions may have affected others. With that said, I hope both sides (chasers & EM personal) have made amends and will continue the much needed dialogue to address this very incident because it WILL happen again> as long as there are storms people will be drawn to them, both chasers and EM services.

    Tony, I applaud your effort to reach across the aisle and keep working so that both Storm chasers and EM can do their thing, while being respectful of each other and each other's communities. My hope is that the other side of the aisle has realized the same, and at the very least made an attempt to begin a civil conversation with you about this topic, and better yet learned something from the incident.

    I'm not speaking for others, but I will not let a Couple of bad apples (on the EM side) spoil my positive experiences or encounters with EM, and we would expect the same from there side.

    Continued updates are always welcome - Thanks for sharing.
     

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