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Drunk Firefighter Takes Engine For Joy Ride; Nearly Hits Police Cruiser

Drunk Firefighter Takes Engine For Joy Ride; Nearly Hits Police Cruiser

Sean Swanson

The Daily Mail

March 08, 2011

HAMILTON, VA – It wasn’t the most inconspicuous of vehicles to choose.

But the lure of a fire engine apparently proved too much for a volunteer firefighter in Hamilton, Virginia, who allegedly took four colleagues on a drunken joyride at the weekend.

Sean Swanson, 27, was arrested after he nearly crashed into a police patrol car as he sped down the road in a spare fire truck, authorities say.

The sheriff’s deputy said he had to veer into a ditch to avoid hitting the truck as it weaved down Route 704 between Hamilton and Leesburg at 2am on Saturday. Authorities said it was travelling in ‘a dangerous manner’.

According to a spokesman for Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Vincent DiBenedetto, the engine was travelling at least 10mph above the 50mph speed limit.

The deputy checked the vehicle – a retired 1989 engine owned by the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company – wasn’t on its way to a fire, went back and pulled the truck over.

He breathalysed Swanson then arrested him for driving under the influence and unauthorised use of a vehicle.

Swanson was held briefly at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center before being charged and released on his own recognizance.

Four other volunteer firefighters were also in the truck – including a 19-year-old woman, reports – and all had been drinking, authorities said. None of them were arrested.

Two of the firefighters, both of the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company, have resigned.

Two more, from other companies, have been suspended while investigations continue.