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Firefighter Charged with DUI After Hospital Parking Lot Crash

The Salt Lake Tribune via YellowBrix

May 06, 2010

LEOMINSTER — Police on Sunday arrested a city firefighter — who has been out on unpaid leave for several months — after he allegedly crashed his truck into three vehicles and a sign in the HealthAlliance Hospital/Leominster parking lot, according to court documents.

Ryan Muth, 33, of 10 Spindle Top Drive, allegedly drove his truck into the sign and then three cars and “almost hit three people in the parking lot,” according to a report by Officer Sean Ferguson.

Muth is listed in court documents as a firefighter on the Leominster Fire Department, but Mayor Dean Mazzarella said Monday he is on unpaid leave from the department.

Muth initially said he hit nothing when the officer approached him, then said “I think I hit that sign, that’s all though,” Ferguson wrote.

The crash caused “very minor damage” to the other vehicles, the officer wrote.

“While speaking with Mr. Muth, I observed him to be unsteady on his feet, very nervous, and his pupils were very small, almost pinpointed,” Ferguson wrote.

Muth could not be reached for comment Monday.

Ferguson wrote in his report that he did not smell any alcohol on Muth, and asked whether he had been taking any drugs, to which he allegedly replied no, then said, “I take stuff for anxiety, but I can drive on that. I wouldn’t take (prescription painkiller) Percocet and drive.”

Three witnesses reported seeing Muth’s red truck “driving at a high rate of speed,” hitting the pedestrian sign, then traveling very slowly toward them, Ferguson wrote.

“They all informed me that the truck was heading straight at them,” he wrote. “All three of them thought they were going to be run over by the truck. They then ran out of the way. The truck hit the Jeep and then backed up. It then kept going and hit three other cars in the parking lot.”

After some field sobriety tests, during which Muth was allegedly unsteady, Ferguson “then came to the conclusion that Mr. Muth was under the influence of prescription medications. I believe it impaired his ability to operate his motor vehicle.”

Muth is charged with operating under the influence of drugs and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Mazzarella said Muth has been on unpaid leave from the Leominster Fire Department for “at least three or four months,” but declined to say why. Mazzarella said he was aware of the arrest, but had not read the allegations against Muth.

Firefighters on Monday evening referred the matter to acting Fire Chief Daniel Kirouac, who was unavailable for comment.

Muth’s arrest and charges were not recorded in the press log — with entries from 2:05 p.m. Friday to 2:49 a.m. Monday — given to the Sentinel & Enterprise Monday by the Leominster Police Department. According to court documents, the incident occurred at 5:34 p.m. Sunday, which is marked in the press log as “Accident – no (personal injury) – arrest(s) made.”

Muth was arraigned Monday in Leominster District Court, where Judge Mark E. Noonan released him on his own recognizance. He is due in court June 17 for a pretrial hearing.

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