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Detroit Fire Department Deputy Chief Robert Shinske keeps making news — and not the good kind. Chief Shinske’s latest trouble is a December 13 incident where he crashed the fire department SUV into his Dearborn home. This prompted reporters to ask some questions about whether protocols were followed following the crash. The story was first reported by Motor City Muckraker’s Steve Neavling and has now been picked up by WJBK-TV (above and below).
Reporters have an interest in Shinske because he was suspended for five days after an October incident. Video and still images showed Shinske’s fire SUV parked at a Dearborn bar with the deputy chief inside the establishment. But there’s more.
Shortly after the bar incident, the man who provided the images to the news media, Alex Haggart, suddenly found himself subject of an investigation by Detroit arson investigators. A search warrant was served at the home of the freelance fire videographer. Haggart was later arrested by Grosse Pointe officers because of expired gun permits, but Steve Neavling says Detroit arson investigators have yet to file any charges against Haggart.
Neavling’s reporting makes a connection between the Haggart investigation and the bar video. It should be noted — as Neavling does — that Haggart has contributed news items to Motor City Muckraker, Neavling’s news website.
Just after midnight Dec. 13, Deputy Chief Robert Shinske alerted a senior fire chief that he crashed his DFD SUV into his Dearborn home – smashing the brake light, rear bumper and back window.
But normally when a fire vehicle is involved in accident the driver of the damaged car or senior chief is required to notify central dispatch, which contacts fire administration and an official photographer to document the crash.
We’re told that didn’t happen. The driver is also supposed to call local police department but we’re told Shinske did not because he said it happened in his Dearborn driveway. FOX 2 did find some evidence of glass that appeared to come from the SUV.
FOX 2 reached out to Fire Commissioner Eric Jones who says there is an investigation underway. He says that night Shinske was screened for drugs and alcohol and passed.
However, FOX 2 did not get an answer when we asked how much time had passed between the drug and alcohol screening and the accident.