A California firefighter was attempting to give aid to the victims of a car crash when he was handcuffed and detained by a highway patrol officer, according to local news.
Now the agencies involved say it was a misunderstanding that prompted the officer to interrupt firefighter Jacob Gregoire’s efforts to help an injured man.
The crash happened Tuesday night on California’s I-805. Gregoire was assisting an injured man when an officer with the California Highway Patrol instructed him to move his firetruck out of the dividing lane. The two argued over where Gregoire should be parked, and eventually the officer chose to place him in handcuffs.
Gregoire spent about 30 minutes in the back of a squad car while more police and firefighters arrived.
The media criticized the police department for putting protocol before the needs of crash victims. A spokesperson for the Chula Vista Fire Department was also upset.
“To detain one of our firefighters in the middle of an incident is ridiculous, and it doesn’t provide the good customer service, the good public service that both of our agencies were there to do,” said a spokesperson for the fire department in a statement to CBS-6 news.
On Wednesday, the agencies released a joint statement that chalked up Gregoire’s detention to a chain-of-command conflict.
“Both of our agencies have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions,” said the statement. “This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal.”