California Highway Patrol Officer Cuffs Montecito Fire Battalion Chief –Truth!

Summary of eRumor:


This is a forwarded story about a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who arrested a Fire Department Battalion Chief  during a traffic accident response in the city of Montecito, California. The firefighter refused the CHP officer’s request to move his truck because he was blocking traffic in the fast lane.

The Truth:

.A spokesperson for the Montecito Fire Department told that this is a true story  Montecito Firefighters were responding to the scene of a minor injury traffic accident at the side of the left lane on northbound 101 Freeway.  It is a standard operating procedure to park the last arriving responder rig, usually a fire truck, at an angle to shield the assessment team from passing vehicles. Traffic was starting to back up and a California Highway Patrol officer, at the scene told firefighters to move the rig to improve the flow of traffic.  When the Battalion Chief refused to obey the order he was arrested and cuffed by the CHP officer.

According to a February 24, 2010 article in the Santa Barbara Independent   “The chief was not detained for long, however, because as soon as a CHP supervisor caught wind of the incident, he rushed to the scene and released the Montecito fire representative.”   No charges were filed against the Battalion Chief.   Click for article

updated 03/22/2010

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

From: :Lack of Common Sense

This is so dumb, I still can’t believe it… I am going to send it out the way I got it…meaning that noting has been changed…the story is from a firefighter in Montecito, California…I guess they didn’t issue this Chippie Motor any common sense…he’s probably written his own mother a citation

This is a true story, 15 February 2010 on Highway 101 in Montecito, California.

The Scene…T/C in the center divider, 2 vehicles, 6 patients, 1 known minor injury. I am driving the squad and we follow the fire engine in. We pull past the fire engine then it blocks the lane to provide a safe working area, (per SOP). This is where it becomes interesting.

The CHP officer tells our BC (Battalion Chief) that the engine can’t block the lane because it will cause too much traffic (congestion). Our BC tells him no, that we need it there till we are done. 62 seconds from the time our BC goes on scene, we hear our BC on the radio asking our dispatcher for a CHP supervisor to be sent to the scene. Next thing I know and I look over and the CHP officer is handcuffing/arresting our BC. Note that the fire engine personnel haven’t even made patient contact yet! This is where the CHP officer goes to our Captain and tells him the same thing….. “Move the engine or I am going to arrest you and the Engineer. Then he called for a Heavy Tow truck to tow our fire engine off the freeway! The Captain finally gave in as our dispatcher warned him that the Heavy had been dispatched

After that the CHP officers supervisor showed up and un-cuffed our BC. The original arresting officer then went back over to our BC and gave him an “obstructing a police officer with an investigation ticket.” He must have felt strongly that he was right. Turns out the CHP officer just transferred from Bakersfield to here less than 2 weeks ago.

The picture is our BC sitting handcuffed against the center guardrail. The cop actually asked him “Do I need to chain you to my motorcycle to make sure you don’t go anywhere?”

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies stopped by tonight with 2 cakes. One had a file in it. The CHP Night watch Sergeant came over too and couldn’t apologize enough.

The ticket still stands and we haven’t heard what is up with the CHP officer, but he never backed down. It seemed like he never felt like he did anything wrong.