2 hurt after crash on northbound I-805 in Chula Vista: Firefighter handcuffed at scene

Crash occurred south of Telegraph Canyon Road

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Two people were transported to the hospital after a car struck a construction barrier on northbound Interstate 805 in Chula Vista, and amid all of the chaos a responding firefighter was detained by a California Highway Patrol officer.

The crash was reported shortly before 9:30 p.m. south of Telegraph Canyon Road. A Ford Mustang heading northbound on I-805 hit a concrete construction barrier, overturned and ended up in the middle of the construction site.

The driver and passenger were transported to a hospital to be treated. The extent of their injuries and their conditions were unknown. There is also no word on whether speed or alcohol was involved.

According to the Chula Vista Fire Department, the CHP responded along with three fire rigs -- two from Chula Vista and one from San Diego. For the most part, the agencies seem to work together seamlessly.

However, that came into question when CVFD engineer Jacob Gregoire went from helping people trapped in a car to watching from the back seat of a patrol car.

Chula Vista Fire Dept. Chief Dave Hanneman seemed to stand behind the firefighter, saying, "Last night, I got the call that we had one of our engineers detained, and I was upset … Obviously it's in the best interest of CHP and us to work together to help patients and having one of our engineers detained in the back of a squad car is not helpful to anybody."
Hanneman said a CHP officer ordered the rigs to leave, and two of them did.

He said Gregoire's truck was positioned to protect the three remaining firefighters, the three medics, the ambulance and people about to be loaded into it and since pulling out would put them at risk, the truck stayed.
Then this went out over the radio:

"I did not move our engine so it's still in the initial spot, and we're just continuing with patient care."

"This is ridiculous. We're in the middle of patient care with patients on the [freeway] and we're trying to protect our scene … and they're putting him in handcuffs at this time and walking him away."

After nearly 30 minutes in handcuffs and phone calls between the bosses, Gregoire was released. He was not arrested.

CHP did not comment except to say they were looking into the incident and meeting with the fire departments.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Hanneman and CHP Chief Jim Abele issued the following statement:

"Last night there was an unfortunate incident at the scene of a traffic collision on I-805, where both our agencies had responded. Both the CHP and the Chula Vista Fire Department share a common goal of protecting the public and providing the highest level of safety to responding emergency personnel, involved parties and other drivers at collision scenes.

Both of our agencies have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions. This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal.    

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."

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