Question Raised In Trooper, Paramedic Dispute

Thursday, May 28th 2009, 4:53 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6

UNDATED - There are more details about a confrontation earlier this week between an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and a paramedic in Okfuskee County.  The incident was caught on tape as the trooper accuses the ambulance driver of not pulling over when the patrol car was trying pass him.  What does the law say about who has the right of way?

It was Sunday along Highway 62 in Paden.  Kenyada Davis is behind the cell phone camera.  His mother was being transported by Muscogee Creek Nation EMS to a hospital in Prague.

5/27/2009 Related story: Trooper, Paramedic Fight Caught on Tape

In a statement obtained by The News On 6, paramedic Maurice White said the patrol car came within three feet of the ambulance with its lights on, eventually passing while telling the driver over the emergency radio: "You should consider checking you rearview mirrors."     

After taking care of the original call, the trooper waited for the ambulance and pulled it over.  White says in his statement: "The officer got out of his vehicle in a state of rage."

Read the Paramedic's Report
Read a witness's statement 

A witness, who declined to go on camera, told The News On 6 the same story.

"He was yelling, screaming.  He was irrational to me," said witness Diana Walkup.

OHP says before the home video was recording, the paramedic assaulted the state trooper.  But, Diana Walkup says the paramedic never touched anyone until the patrolman grabbed his arm.     

She says it was the trooper who was out of control.

"We thought, my God, is he going to pull a gun? That's really what we thought. We didn't know if he was fixing to pull a gun or what," said witness Diana Walkup.

So, who had the right of way? The Creek Nation admits the ambulance did not have on its lights and sirens, while the trooper had on his lights, but no sirens.

The News On 6 couldn't find anything that gives one emergency vehicle the right of way over another, but we did find one state law that says:  "Every person who willfully emergency medical the performance and guilty of a misdemeanor."

Investigators aren't commenting, but Diana Walkup believes the trooper was out of line.

"I was horrified.  I couldn't believe it. These gentlemen were trying to do their job and they were held up," said witness Diana Walkup.

The trooper's dash-cam video is in the custody of an assistant district attorney in Okfuskee County.  She says it will not be released because it's part of the investigation.

Watch the raw footage of the fight captured on a camera phone.