CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista’s fire chief said Wednesday that law enforcement officials have yet to explain why they handcuffed and detained a member of his department who was responding to an injury accident on a South Bay freeway Tuesday night.
Engineer Jacob Gregoire, 36, was handcuffed and placed in the rear seat of a CHP cruiser after being ordered by a CHP officer to move his truck, which was parked in the center divider of Interstate 805. The truck was partially blocking the lane closest to the divider to protect ambulance crews working to aid two people injured when a Mustang hit a cement barrier and rolled over, according to Chula Vista Fire Chief Dave Hanneman,
“From our perspective, our engineer was out there doing what they’re trained to do and doing everything right to take care of patient care and protect that scene,” Hanneman said . “While we work very well together with the CHP 99 percent of the time, we need to find out what happened last night and how we can improve training and communication to prevent something like this from happening in the future.”
The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on the freeway near Telegraph Canyon Road in Chula Vista. The firefighter was detained for 30 minutes in the cruiser before being released.
Hanneman met Tuesday with CHP officials. He characterized the meeting as positive, but he said they did not explain why the officer detained Gregoire or made two other fire engines leave the accident scene.
“We don’t know what was going through the officer’s mind,” Hanneman said.
The Hanneman said he told the CHP commander that fire crews were responsible for the safety of victims and emergency responders at accident scenes and they would continue to take all steps necessary provide emergency care and transport victims to the hospital.
“We (told) the CHP commander this is how we’re trained to operate. We’re going to continue that and we need their support. He said, ‘Yeah, we don’t expect you to change on how you respond,’” Hanneman told Fox 5.
CHP released the following statement Wednesday:
“This morning representatives from both agencies met to discuss the incident to improve communication and ensure the highest level of service is provided to the public. This incident will be a topic of future joint training sessions, in an ongoing effort to work more efficiently together.”