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CHULA VISTA — A Chula Vista firefighter arrested while trying to aid victims at a freeway accident has filed a legal claim against the California Highway Patrol.

Engineer Jacob Gregoire was handcuffed and placed in the rear seat of a CHP cruiser after he refused to move his fire truck, which was parked in the center divider of Interstate 805 on the night of Feb. 4. 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 Department officials.


Jacob Gregoire
Engineer Jacob Gregoire at news conference announcing his claim against the CHP (March 25, 2014)

Gregoire was later released, and no charges were filed.

“It was a very surreal odd situation,” said Gregoire of the incident. “It was really hard to sit in the back of that CHP car and be treated the way he did treat me.”

The claim against the CHP filed by Gregoire alleges that the arrest was illegal and obstructed Gregoire and other emergency responders from caring for the accident victims. It accuses the arresting CHP officer, Sergio Flores, of arrogance, bullying and ill will.

When Flores was ordered to release Gregoire, he said, “This is not over yet. You are not being arrested, but I am not done with you. You’re going to have to answer for your actions,” according to the claim.

“This is all about ego of the CHP officer. It has nothing to do with authority at the scene,” said Dan Gilleon, Gregoire’s attorney. “This is not an isolated incident. The same office has done this in the past and done this since, so this is not a problem they are trying to fix. They are trying to sweep this under the rug.”

Gilleon said the firefighter will drop the claim if the CHP agrees to fix the problems of delaying emergency crews along highways.