FIRST ARRIVING NETWORK
First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network, Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

Firefighter vs police: Arkansas volunteer arrested after meeting off duty cop on the road. Flashing lights & speed are at issue.

Click here to follow STATter911.com on Facebook (hit “like”)

An off-duty police officer in a Corvette. A volunteer firefighter on his way home from hazmat training in what apparently is his POV with lights & radios. What happened between the two around 10:00 Friday night on a Bauxite, Arkansas road appears to be a he said – he said. The only other witness may be a female the firefighters says was in the cop’s car. The confrontation ended with Rockport Firefighter Westley Steinert arrested.

While the officer told KATV-TV he couldn’t comment, his boss Police Chief Ron Parsons did. Parsons believes Steinert could have killed someone, claiming the firefighter was driving 90 miles-per-hour.

Here’s part of Steinert’s story via KATV-TV:

“Very unprofessional, very unprofessional.” Westley Steinert says for about 3-miles he was followed by a driver in a Corvette riding his bumper, at times feeling chased. When the driver began flashing his high beams, Westley gave in. He says, “As a first responder I thought maybe they’re trying to get my attention for a more important reason.”

That’s when he says he pulled over and flashed his light rack, to acknowledge the driver of the Corvette.

Both men got out of their cars. Neither showed credentials. “Before I could even say hey, what’s up? What do you need? He screamed at me, you’re going to jail, I’m an off duty police officer.”

He continues, “He indicated I was impersonating a police officer because I flashed my rear deck lights at him.”

Do you want to sell a rig? Click HERE to find out how with SellFireTrucks.com.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Ryan

    How is that impersonating a cop? If he has a permit for them and they are a different color than police he is fine. He pulled to the side of the road and turned on his rear lights, it serves as a more effective warning to passing motorists that there is a car on the side of the road and to be careful. Makes complete sense. Also how can he be charged with speeding when there was no radar or patrol car that made the stop? And how can he be following too closely when he was the one being followed?

  • Bullets

    Does he have a permit for the lights? Does Arkansas limits on where they can be placed?

    Does Arkansas allow pacing as a speed measurement?

    • Anonymous

      ARKANSAS STATE LAW SAYS IF YOU ARE A FIRE FIGHTER YOU CAN RUN RED LIGHTS AND SIREN AS LONG AS IT IS 360 DEGREES OF LIGHT

  • Anonymous

    He can be charged with speeding by pacing. At the 90 miles an hour there is no doubt that speeding was involved. I suspect there is a lot more to this story on the cops side. My first thought when seeing this was the guy is a whacker.

    • Deputy & VFD

      pacing is allowed using an LE vehicle that has a calibrated speedometer. Even if clocked by radar it has to be calibrated yearly,and tuned at the beggining of each shift

  • Anonymous

    Yes Arkansas allows both the use of the lights, and pacing.

  • Westley

    There’s much more to this story than just what was reported. It simply appears to be a case of small town good ol’ boy “I’m a police officer and can do whatever I want.” While being interviewed by KATV Channel 7, Ron Parsons was captured on camera as saying the following to Westley Steinert.

    ” You’re going to regret this. You’ve started a big stink that you and your family are not prepared to handle.”

    Chief Parsons, who is also employed in the capacity of Detective, with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department, was in his Sheriff’s uniform, driving a Sheriff’s car, at the time of the threatening statements.

    I should bring to light that A) I have first hand knowledge of this incident because I AM Westley Steinert. B) My Fire Chief is also an Arkansas LEO, and has approved the equipment on my vehicle, My Captain is a Police Chief in Arkansas, and has approved my vehicle and its contents,and My Deputy Chief is a Sworn LEO in Arkansas and has approved my vehicle and equipment. C)At no time was I impersonating anything, my vehicle is quite easily identified as a fire vehicle not only by color of lights, but my decals and license plates.
    D) To clarify; The Corvette followed me for approximately 3.5-4 miles, tailgating ME. The ” Following too closely” charge comes from being behind a passenger car that turned out in front of my, on a two lane road, 10 o’clock at night, with blind corners and no passing zones. So I followed THAT vehicle until they turned off, at which point I DID accellerate in an attempt to put distance between myself and the Corvette that was tailgating me with his high beam headlights on. By this time, we are within his “on-duty” jurisdiction, when he started flashing his headlights at me, and I pulled over in a safe, well lit area off the roadway, the driveway to a local school. The situation went downhill from there. I was assaulted(which is recorded) in front of my wife and child, my wife was “ordered” to not call anyone (which is on the recording) and arrested, transported and jailed…and my vehicle was ransacke throughout the searching *for which I never consented*.
    I also point out that the “Chief” of Bauxite PD, which I have indicated works for Saline County Sheriff’s Department…called a towing company to impound my vehicle. Oddly enough, that SAME towing company employs another Sheriff’s Deputy as a driver…and guess who was there when I went to retrieve my vehicle from that towing company? A fully dressed, in uniform Saline County Sheriff’s Deputy/Tow Truck Driver, who was handling my towing issues…conflict of interests? I think so.
    As for the Corvette…No blue flashing lights were displayed. I was never met with a badge, credentials, or gun..only a statement , “I’m an off-duty police officer and youre going to jail.” Im almost certain that his Corvette is not equipped with a “Certified Calibrated” speedometer, nor radar, nor video recording device.
    My question: he had a cell phone to call everyone else on Bauxite PD…why didnt he call 911, if he had an issue with my driving in ANOTHER JURISDICTION? Instead he pursued me, put not only myself, but his passenger and other motorists at risk my brightlighting me, tailgating me, and “IF” I were doing 90mph around the corner that is shown in the news video….WHY WAS HE? I had not committed any serious offense.
    This is just a small glimpse of what is truly going on. I will continue to update as things come to light and court date is closer. Thanks.

    Westley Steinert
    RFD #4122

    • Anonymous

      You may not be wrong but your still a whacker.

    • RJ(in floriida)

      i agree with those of you that say get a lawyer and fight this. it sounds like something else is afoot here. we are having somewhat of the same problem here in FL. the tourist season is over and now the cops need something to do so they go on red light Jehad against the vollies that allow their members to run lights because “it dont look right”-my favorite non violation of a nonexistant law. nobody goes crazy with warning lights in my dept. the average is 1 or 2 and thats it and everyone has their cards. most of the time i use mine to mark a scene for my safety and thats about it but in my expierence, vollies with lights seems to be a favorite target for some LEO’s and the excuses they come up with for tagging you run from the sublime to the “wow you’re really going that far?” My Captain got tagged for just having the light on his dash while sitting at a traffic light, it was not on, a cop looked over, saw the light and pulled him over because “it didnt look right” Good luck brother, it aint about the lights. you’re dedicated and thats what counts in my book. sound like you’re a victim of small town drama

      • John W

        That just makes me feel great. I am about to head down to Orlando to visit my mother. I am sure they wont recognize my state of georgia emergency vehicle permit if they don’t recognize their own states permits.

      • Anonymous

        sounds like a dirty cop that was having a bad day and want to be clinteastwood,down here in san marcos we dont have that kind of issue at all,every one knows fire fighters and police, but if one cop u see gets out of line,of course call dispatch and get a wholed of the chief police commander,he will call that person in garranted,ive suspended two cops for trying to be above the law and bending rules stuff they shouldnt do because they think there invisable those are the ones the piss me off.

  • http://none gaston wilson jr

    WHY CAN WE NOT ALL GET ALONG!! retired police,volunteer f/f

  • No.1 Statter Fan from Virginia

    Really something. Concentrate on learning how to be a good fireman rather than to see how many stickers and lights you can put on your vehicle. At the same time, seems to be some real screw ball law enforcement folks involved as well.

  • Dave Michiana

    just another whacker

    • Crowbar

      Name calling solves nothing.

    • Taylor

      Based on what? Because he simply has warning lights on his POV?

  • DCFD

    Pretty much confirms my thought that most cops are power hungry Dbags.

  • PO’d

    Some cops operate on a daily basis – “lawless with a badge.” Get a good attorney, Wes.

  • SB

    Reminds me of the state trooper and the ambulance a few years back. More abuse of power.

    • RJ(in floriida)

      whatever happened with that? i cant find anything. hope the cop got busted back to meter maid

  • AA

    “My Fire Chief is a LEO…” “My Captain is a LEO…” “My Deputy Chief is an LEO…” “The Chief of XXX is also a detective at XXX” “The tow truck driver is an LEO”

    Therein lies the problem, too many power hungry Type-A’s in one geographical region. I’m going to take a wild guess here Westley, and say that in one point in the past you applied for an LE position somewhere, and didn’t make it. Am I wrong?

    I’m not on either side here; No, I’m not a cop! I’m a two-decade career FF myself, so I’m used to doling out the “What do we all have in common? We all took the FD test!” line when rib-poking with the cops.

    But you appear to have crossed over the fine line of overkill with the bling on that car. Seriously. And your “I thought he needed my help” excuse for turning the lights on? Please… I’m not buying that one. At least they saw through that line of BS. You know exactly why you bought that vehicle, you know exactly why you chose the clear lens lights as opposed to red lens, and you know exactly what reaction you were hoping for when you turned those lights on.

    But it backfired on you.

    • Anonymous

      screw you, some of us have crown vic for pov as vfd

  • CLT FF

    I’m not in support of the police officer on this case, but I do believe your car is a little too much like a leo. Regardless of the color of lights and decals…you do appear to be a whacker. I have lights on my POV…but nothing like you do.

    • RJ(in floriida)

      his car is mild compaired to some of the stuff i see on you tube

  • A. Gates

    Yep, I vote whacker as well. There’s alot more to being a firefighter than a bunch of pretty lights on your pov. However, in the interest of fairness, I have a funny feeling that the cop strongly resembles Rodney Farva…

  • Capt. Montondo

    Westley dont comment on anything any where ever. Get a good lawyer and dont answer anything with out him. I can tell you police will screw you if they can and twist things to meet there agenda. Hope all this ends up with a police chief and police officer fired and sued. Good lawyer.. Good luck brother.

  • do your research

    AR annotated code does NOT require 360 degree lighting on a firefighter’s personally owned vehicle. Take a look at AR title 27, subtitle three, chapter 36, subchapter three, paragraph 4a:

    All state, county, city, and municipal or privately owned fire departments, funeral homes, or ambulance companies shall install, maintain, and exhibit red rotating or flashing emergency lights upon all fire department vehicles, automobiles used by firefighters, and ambulances which are equipped with emergency lighting and operated within Arkansas. Firefighters shall be allowed to use portable dash-mounted red rotating or flashing emergency lights on their privately owned automobiles when responding to a fire or other emergency.

    AR annotated code doesn’t always make a great reference to a volunteer firefighter and their personally owned vehicle.

    Here’s another excerpt from 27-37-202:

    Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with a siren, whistle, or bell capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than five hundred feet (500′) and of a type approved by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

    Notice it says “authorized” emergency vehicle. Nowhere does it mention personally owned vehicle. This is the problem with the AR annotated code in regards to a volunteer firefighter utilizing warning lights and siren on a POV: talk of warning lights or siren bounces from a few different sections and most of the time is meant to reference the vehicles ran by agencies, NOT personally owned vehicles.

    The 360 degree requirement is a myth, and not many individuals take it upon themselves to research this. There is the mention of flashers and a beacon being required, but no where does it say for personally owned vehicles:

    27-37-202 (c) (1) Every authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with signal lamps in addition to any other equipment and distinctive markings required by this subchapter. These lamps shall be mounted as high and be as widely spaced laterally as practicable. The vehicle shall be capable of displaying to the front two (2) alternately flashing red lights located at the same level and to the rear two (2) alternately flashing red lights located at the same level.

    In regards to that statement, think of the old fire apparatus which would have a center mounted beacon and then a pair of “lolli-pop” flashers on each side of the cab having lenses facing front and rear. So, if a person wanted to construe this how they see fit, all personally owned vehicles with nothing mounted on the roof mounted as far apart practically would not meet state law and they’d be in trouble.

    I do agree with the fact it’s better to have more than just a dashlight and siren, but if one is concerned with what the state law has to say, there it is. Feel free to read further into AR annotated code, as it will have a few VERY basic requirements for publicly owned emergency vehicles and emergency vehicles owned by a private company but providing service to the public (think of private ambulance companies).

    • mark

      So what exactly constitutes an “authorized emergency vehicle”?

      In MI, that means a POV, fire apparatus, police car, ambulance, even an MD can get one. There are certain guidelines, but it is not limited to publicly owned vehicles.

      Is Arkansas that same way possibly?

  • Mike

    Volunteers should not be allowed to deck their POV’s out with more lights then a NYC christmas displuay, mobile radios, and sirens. Unreal, and if you want to look professional for a tv interview un-roll your shirt sleeves and tuck in your shirt.

  • Anonymous

    I know Wes and am pretty familiar with the pd involved. Both have well known reputations. I get a laugh from all of this. Wes, do yourself a favor and shut your damn mouth.

  • Firefighter

    Demand a jury trial.

    LEO’s in my neck of the woods are Public Safety Trash.

  • Anonymous

    We still only have ONE side of the story. I doubt it tells the whole truth – and most likely the cops side does not either, the truth being somewhere in the murky middle.

    I agree with the Whacker statements though – seriously – look at your old cop car you drive. It screams WHACKER.

  • Anonymous

    Why does the article say there was only one witness, in the corvette, yet you claim your wife and child was in the car?>

  • Pingback: Whacker? Not a Whacker?

  • CLT FF

    I believe that ‘Capt Montondo’ gives some EXCELLENT advice. Westley should remain quiet, no more comments and no more interviews. Get a lawyer and he or she will tell you the same thing. No comments, handle it in court.

    Regardless of what any of us think or state – you need to heed that advice, do not give anyone anything to twist, turn or missinterpret. Good luck. Some advice from me – focus more on being a good FF and stop adding lights, pushbars and sirens to your POV. Also, stop rolling the sleeves up on your t-shirts…that went out of style in 1986 (sorry bro, I couldn’t resist).

  • 7House

    I remember when I was a vollie (seems like 50 years ago) but I recall there was always at least 1 guy that had the all the newest lights and siren on his vehicle with as many stickers he could put on it, usually a vehicle that looked somewhat “copish”. He was the one that the chief always got calls about, usually from a police dept. or angry tax-payer. I guess some things don’t change. Fortunately I lived close to the station and never bothered with lights and sirens, took my time and usually made the 1st rig out.

    I will agree with ‘Capt Montondo’ & ‘CLT FF’ and their advice, this appears to be a very on-going issue, so the less you say publicly the better. Especially since it is likely to lead a court appearance. To quote my father and his years of wisdom, “Shut your mouth!”.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously your not trying to look like a cop?!? That is a load of BS if I ever saw one! You are driving a crown vic, probably a police intercepter version, with clear lens LEDs and a push bar. If I saw you coming my way while driving I would check my speedometer! Come on man! You are making your fellow vollies look bad!

    • big D

      Anonymous (tony) how in the world did you get that she came up there in a separate car. That is why we have said the cop could not tell her who to call. By the way how is that charger of yours with all the lights working out for you?

  • oldhead

    That reporter is hot.

  • Yardbird

    Paddle faster… I think I hear banjos!

  • rjd2051

    I’m a LEO too, what’s your sign?

  • popknot

    Nest time you know you’re going to be on TV, try not to dress like a redneck/wacker/hick. You looked really uncredible with the sleeves rolled up and tats showing. You should have gone through your dept before making a statement that can and will be used against you in a court of law.

    All I want to know is, were you speeding ?

  • SB

    I agree w/ many of the statements, we’re not trying to beat you up, but the car definitely got you in trouble. It looks like you’re ate up w/ both police and fire. Look at all the lights, siren, radios and antenna. That screams cop want-to-be.

    Hopefully things come out in your favor. I think the cop did a dirty thing. But when this is over, get rid of the car, go w/ something modest and put one or two lights in if you feel the need.

    I have a few lights two (blue in IN, no siren) but it’s not intrusive and mostly just use on scene, not en-route.
    Use some common sense.

  • Oh Lord

    What a stroker…..enough lights to land a 747 on a back road, sirens, he he a volunteer Fire Marshal too?

  • EngineGuy

    I agree with most of the comments, this guys screams whacker. There is no need for that amount of emergency lighting in a pov, much less a crown vic of all things. And just because your a vollie doesn’t mean you do not need to look professional. We all portray an image whether career or volunteer, so up hold it. And yes the reporter was hot.

  • AA
  • cladcromwell

    I completely agree; that TV lady is hot.

  • Anonymous

    And she is SMOKING hot!

  • Anonymous

    Westley,

    A couple of comments.

    1. Your license plates do not designate you as a firefighter, those are Arkansas Fallen Firefighter plates, and can be obtained by anyone.

    2. Your following too closely? You are supposed to back off to a legal and safe distance if someone pulls in front of you. Otherwise, you are “following too closely”.

    3. The officer is most likely on duty 24/7 in his jurisdiction, which you clearly state you were in his jurisdiction when he flashed his lights and effected the traffic stop.

    4. Assaulted? Not in the eyes (ears) of the court. He was trying to effect control of you during the stop, which you clearly were NOT under control – as evidenced by his numerous orders to you to stop. He has that right as a LEO while performing that stop.

    5. After you were placed under arrest, and the decision was made to tow the vehicle, the PD has every right – and in most agencies an obligation by standing orders, to search your vehicle. It has been hashed out over the years, all the way to the supremes, and you do not need to consent after you have been arrested.

    6. He identified himself as an officer. You even point that out. No problem there either.

    It really does sound an awful lot like a penis measuring contest, and you just found out his is bigger. Going to the media before court was total nuts. Could the cop have handled things better? Sure he could have – but you sure could have also.

    Now, insofar as all the other dirt people have drug up, your problems with theft, your problems on other fire departments, etc, those are all a sign to grow up. Really. I don’t mean to insult you, but really man. It is time. Get your act together, and become a real asset to your community.

  • AA

    As would be expected, the video was pulled. BUT: I saved it. :)

    So here it is again:

  • Dickey

    Wow….all I can say is “wannabee”

    That car screams cop all over it. Like someone said already, you know why you bought that car, you know why you put all those lights on it, and you know the feeling it gives you when you pull up to a stoplight and the car next to you looks at you that way. Nothing like trying to be discreet!

    You are giving vollies a bad name by tricking out your car that way and by going on TV like that.

    Like Ben Franklin, a brother firefighter once said, “better to remain quiet and let people think you are an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

  • 105truckie

    That’s just a rolling galls catalog right there. I hope you put as much time and effort into training and certifications as you do in tricking out that want to be circus wagon. If your chief and police chief ok’d that setup, they’re just as much a stemwhacker as you.

  • Anonymous

    I have dealt with both police and firefighters for many years. Myself a retired police officer. I can say there are some problems with both sides of this story. 1. Westley, himself admits to following the vehicle that pulled out in front of him, too close. He should have just backed his speed off to allow for better following distance. 2. There was no excuss for him to be driving 90 or anywhere close to that speed. No driver who has been driving for any time knows the difference, just by the feel. If he was being tailgated, he should have slowed down to allow the corvette to pass. If it didn’t, he admitted that they had a phone, does he know 911. He could have reported the dangerous tailgater and his side would have been on record. 3. Arkansas law is clear about the color of lights for emergency vehicles, red is for fire. Any law student can clear up that charge.
    4. The police officer was also in the wrong, as even in a on duty pursuit, tailgating at high speeds are a suicide move. There are times that is the only option, but it sounds like the officer should also be charged with following too close. 5. Law is also clear about the distance you can use your bright lights when following a vehicle. Since this was the officers POV, he must follow those rules, being a police officer does not give you an exemption. 6. The officer should have followed at a safe distance, never bright lighted the first car, called ahead and had the vehicle stopped by a on duty officer. 7. As for the tow truck, wreckers are dispatched from a rotating list to avoid one company getting a lot of calls while others get few. If this department is smart, they just requested the next wrecker on call. 8. I have many friends that are vol. fire fighters. None of them find a need for the lights you have on display. You are a look-at-me, see-how-important-I-am, type of person.

    I hope both the firefighter and police officer open their eyes. What I have read and seen of this incident. You were both wrong. The police officer showed signs of a rookie or poorly trained officer. The chief should have at least sat him down and verbally reprimanded his for his poor judgement and handling of the situation. If he (police officer) thinks he was doing no wrong, then he should think of what might have happened if a deer would have crossed in front of you (firefighter), and you had to slam on the brakes. He would have hit you and been responsible for all damages, injuries, or deaths. The firefighter could have settled it all by simply slowing down, or pulling over earlier, or making a phone call to report the tailgating corvette.

  • Pingback: Whackers - Page 4 - The RadioReference.com Forums

  • with held in saline co

    Sounds like both parties couldve handled things differently! I think that the officer used poor judgement and did not think the situation threw. What he done was very dangerous..to everyone! I am not a supporter of the police department..with that being said…It is not safe to be going that speed anywhere in Bauite!! But a fire fighter is going this fast right threw Bauxite at night..in front of the school? Really?? Not only should you be changed with speeding but with reckless driving and endangerment!! Never mind if a deer had walked out..what if one of our children had?? ITS A SCHOOL ZONE!!!! You as a firefighter should be ashamed!!!! Sounds like you have police envy..and you thought you wouldnt get a ticket. Well…Bauxite showed you! Your actions should be reveiwed by your department..

  • Pingback: Firefighter vs police: Arkansas volunteer arrested after meeting off duty cop on the road. Flashing lights & speed are at issue. | STATter911.com « Bad Cop News Continued

  • GMF

    If it is the same punk i know from kansas i would double ck his credintals because here in kansas he was inpersonating both a cop and a firfighter

  • dave

    why do i hear all this complaining about “whackers”? yes 4,000 lights arent necessary, i only have have a sho-me mini blue bar on my roof, but if they are whackers, then theyre the kind that never miss a call, are always there for their communities by doing fundraising, and they dont pick calls. i hear people say all the time “why didnt you get here faster”? well if people wouldnt piss and moan about us doin 55 in a 45 with flashy lights then i wouldve. or if they say to my chief “that fireman was driving too fast and almost ran me off the road!!” well if you were trapped inside an overturned car with fuel leaking out or stuck inside a blazing house choking on smoke, wouldnt you want one of us there as soon as possible?
    as far as this situation goes, it sounds like the cop passed the fireman, who was probly tired as all hell from training (those hazmat classes are rough) saw he was going fast so he turned around and followed him probably breaking 90 mph to catch him, and illegally pulled him over. if i see someone broke down and i pull off to help the only way these other drivers will slow down and yield is if they see flashing blue/red lights. they dont care if you’re 4-ways are on they will blow right past you. i feel the volunteer had the right to put on his amber rear lights to warn others behind him that there were vehicles on the shoulder, especially that late at night when drunks are out.