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DC firefighter arrested while driving ambulance on suspended permit. Officer recognized him from DUI.

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Bob Barnard, WTTG-TV/Fox 5:

Two D.C. firefighters were arrested within 24 hours for traffic incidents. The arrests are yet another blow to a department already under intense scrutiny.

D.C. fire officials are not commenting about either arrest except to say both firefighters are on administrative leave.

One of the men was arrested around 4 a.m. Wednesday while on duty and driving a city ambulance — Medic 33.

DC ambulance

Sources told FOX 5 firefighter James Bunn is no stranger to the court system. He had been arrested along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast D.C. 15 months ago in his personal car after driving through a red light in front of Saint Elizabeth's. Bunn was charged with DUI.

Just before dawn Wednesday morning, the same arresting officer from D.C. police couldn't believe his eyes when he saw Bunn behind the wheel of an ambulance at United Medical Center in Southeast.

After stopping the ambulance, the officer's hunch was confirmed: Bunn was driving on a suspended license from that earlier DUI case and he was placed under arrest.

We stopped by Bunn's home in Southeast D.C. Wednesday afternoon, but nobody was home.

The second D.C. firefighter arrested in the past 24 hours was 37-year-old Kevin Pringle. He was picked up along Minnesota Avenue for allegedly driving a car reported stolen out of Anne Arundel County in Maryland. Pringle was wanted for allegedly failing to return a 2013 Dodge Avenger that was rented from Budget back in October.

But the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District says it has decided not to pursue charges against Pringle, citing insufficient evidence.

Still, it's been a tough time for the District's Fire and EMS department. Seven of its employees have been arrested since last summer.

Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has been under fire for allowing the city's fleet of fire trucks and ambulances to fall into what one elected official calls "a critical state."

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  • ukfbbuff

    Gee, the BC's in DCFD don't do a yearly check on their D/O Drivers Licenses?

    As far Mr. Pringle is concerned, That's a joke. Maybe Dollar Rent a Car Will let me keep my rental car next time I'm at FDIC and I drive it home to California and keep it for four months.

    I think the  U.S. Attorney's is avoiding the obvious.

    But, I'm sure a four month rental will be a good fine to pay off in extra rental fees.

     

  • anonymous

    The BFC's check drivers licenses and all other relevant certifications every 4 months (and officers are supposed to check them every day), however they only check to see that they HAVE a drivers license on them. To the best of my knowledge they do not have the ability to check MVA records to determine if the licenses are suspended or not.

  • Retired Chief

    I'm just glad this isn't another DCFD story about the incompetent clown fire chief.

  • Scooter

    Let me guess…. they got a day in the street, if that and kept their job…. Strike Da Box! K  It starts with the hiring process…. K

     

  • DCFDOFFICER

    ukfbbuff….Permits are checked every tour. However showing a license with valid dates, if this happened, would not tell a superior of a suspension. This info comes from IAD. I will throw out a small tidbit. The accused, driving the ambo, is directly and closely related to the fire chief. No way would I still be on duty or on the job with the accused’s record.

    • Former Chief

      Someone needs to make sure that "tidbit" gets to the media.  Along with the accused's record.

  • Volunteer for life

    Turn ems over to a private firm and make fire all volunteer.

    • DC

      Why so all DC houses will burn to the ground like they do in volunteer departments in this area?

  • puzzled

    My departments SOGs clearly state that an individual MUST report ANY citation to administration. Failure to do so may result in immediate termination, especially if it is found during the yearly DL check. We have had a couple who didn't report speeding tickets and recieved unpaid holidays. A DUI, and you are gone.

  • SrFireOfficial

    "I'm just glad this isn't another DCFD story about the incompetent clown fire chief."

    Retired Chief

    Apparently it is.

     

    • Anonymous

      How does this have anything to do with the Fire Chief?

      It's the members responsibility to inform the Department of any changes in their driving status and the fact that they've arrested. This member should be disciplined accordanly.

      Not to absolve this member of his wrong doing, but………………why do we have MPD pulling over FEMS vehicles?

      • oh really

        I agree with you Anonymous 100%. What pains me is if this was one of the "supa novas" get it? opposite of the shining stars, they would be all over MPD bashing them to smitherings for pulling over a DCFIRE vehicle. Not excusing what he did at all, he will receive his due in time like anyone else. But for the life of me, I kno if "B" had been someone else, they would have tried to find some kind of excuse or reason why to put blame on the cop. And no this has nothing to do with management. What individuals do is a reflection upon themselves, can't blame the chief for this one

  • MAEMTB

    Zero patience for this kind of shenanigans, ESPECIALLY DUI. I'm sorry but this clown doesn't deserve to keep his job. Where I worked, a DUI OR license suspension would mean you got fired — not suspended, FIRED — on the spot, but as others have said, if one lacks the integrity to inform your employer of this, they're not going to know right away.

    "Worked" he said… why is it past tense? Because I got hit by a drunk driver and found myself on the opposite side of the extrication and patient packaging process with my car destroyed and my back broken. No sir, I have no sympathy for drunk drivers whatsoever. To my mind if you drink and drive you are betraying the profession and the bond we share.

     

    Sorry for the rant guys & girls.

  • Titanic

    Volunteer for life- These two incidents were not caused by the ems system. And you know damn well that switching to all volunteer does not change what guys do on their free time. Quit trolling. 

  • UseToBeDC

    They check driver's licenses every morning???

    The inane stupidity and ineptitude is mind boggling!!!

    I hope the brothers in DCFD get REAL leadership SOON!!!

    • VanMan

      Maybe they wouldn't have to check licenses each morning if the folks didn't keep getting license suspensions for things like OUI….

      Maybe DCFD needs more professionalism top to bottom. Yes, they're doing a thankless job for a bunch of morons, but they still owe it to the public to obey the law.

      • ?

        I agree, I'm guessing UPS and FedEx don't check licenses every day, they just fire you, if you don't have one.

  • BH

    But the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District says it has decided not to pursue charges against Pringle, citing insufficient evidence.

     

    …Being arrested behind the wheel of a car that you rented but never returned is insufficient evidence?

  • blank

    this is dumb they should be spared after all they are firefighters

  • http://internet sweet james jones

    Why was the Ambulance pulled over? Seems like Officer Friendly did a little profiling. I guess officers can now look at people who are driving and assume that they did something wrong. Maybe I should drop a list of all the people who have been arrested and charged with DUI's that got no news report from Mr. Wagner.

    • dave statter

      As I read the story he did profile him and portraited him. He knew the firefighter’s face because of arresting him on a DUI, which I believe in DC is an automatic license suspension for a period of time. In other words the cop was aware the guy was likely driving without a permit. Seems that’s what you want your cops to do, use their brains to put 2 and 2 together. Now, if there is more to the story than that (which there very well could be), it has not been reported in the news. I am only going on what’s out there so far.

  • oh really

    Yes we do check for drivers license among other creds supposely daily, but heres the kicker. If your license is suspended and you don't tell anyone (supervisor) how would they know. It's not like they physically take it from you when it get suspended.

    You get a letter in the mail stating your license is suspended, and than you drive at your own risk. Now if he did not physically display a license because it was taken, and the company officer did not check for it in line up, well than shame on the officer.

    How do you keep a car that is not yours, especially a rental?. Was he paying for it? Come on P, I know you didn't go out like that. We got to stay out of the news, this is not good PR. Get it together people.

  • Mikmal

    Actually, unless the orders have changed from a few years ago, driver's licenses were to be checked at the ebginning of every shift by the Platoon Commander at morning Line-Up.  Of course, if the member still had the actual license in hand, there is no way for the officer to know whether the permit was suspended or not.  For that, the member would have to have the integrity to notify the Dept.  Integrity does seem to be an issue with some members; thankfully not most, just a few bad apples (or should I say "shinning stars")…