Man Jailed For Impersonating Tulsa Firefighter

Thursday, July 16th 2009, 11:25 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

SAND SPRINGS, OK -- Some are stunned after learning one of the people who stopped to help after a wreck left two bicyclists dead  is now accused of impersonating a firefighter. 

Out of the dozens who stopped to help, one man is now behind bars.

07/15/2009  Related Story: Suspected Tulsa Firefighter Impersonator Arrested

It was a chaotic scene.  Bicycles smashed to pieces, two of the riders with massive critical injuries, rush hour traffic backed up for miles.  Police officers, highway patrol troopers, firefighters, paramedics and among them a suspected imposter.

"For somebody to be out there on a scene such as that trying to pull something off of that magnitude.  It's almost unbelievable," said Sand Springs Fire Marshal Stan Smith.

But, that's exactly what investigators believe happened.  They say the man photographed in the orange shirt, carrying an IV bag, was impersonating a Tulsa firefighter.  And while he was posing as a Good Samaritan, investigators think he was actually stealing narcotics and medical equipment.

"He was telling our people that he was willing to help. He was a Tulsa firefighter. He actually had a badge on," said Sand Springs Fire Marshal Stan Smith.

Sand Springs Fire Marshal Stan Smith says at the time, they had no reason not to trust him, but then, things started disappearing, like a bag of narcotics from the Life Flight helicopter.

After the accident, Sand Springs firefighters returned to the station to discover something was missing.

"Pretty pricey, pretty pricey, it's not a piece of equipment that we can just replace overnight," said Sand Springs Fire Marshal Stan Smith.

Smith said that's when they started to track down the man claiming to be a Tulsa firefighter and paramedic.

"And at that point, found out that he was not affiliated with Tulsa Fire Department, which Tulsa Fire Department was pretty upset over the ordeal, understandably," said Sand Springs Fire Marshal Stan Smith.

Joel Lack has now turned himself into authorities, accused of a string of charges, including two counts of grand larceny, impersonating a firefighter and interfering with emergency personnel.