‘Drunken’ Fire Truck Joy Ride Lands Firefighter in Jail

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HAMILTON, Virginia — “Burning Rubber” –- A Virginia firefighter was arrested early Saturday morning after he and four of his colleagues decided to take a retired fire truck on a drunken joyride.

Sean Swanson, 27, was arrested and charged with Driving under the influence following a drunken joyride in which he nearly hit a Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol.

According to Loudon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Vincent DiBenedetto, the engine was traveling around 60mph when a sheriff’s deputy had to veer into the ditch to avoid being struck by the swerving fire engine.

Making sure the engine was not responding to an emergency call, the deputy stopped the truck around 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

After a subsequent investigation, it was determined that all five off-duty volunteer firefighters in the engine were intoxicated.  Swanson, a volunteer with the Hamilton Fire Company, was arrested for Driving under the Influence (DUI) and Unauthorized Use of Vehicle. The other four occupants of the truck were released to an officer of the fire company. The Sheriff’s Office investigation of this incident continues and additional charges may result.

The County’s Fire and Rescue Commission, the Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management, and the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company are grateful for the prompt action of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. The behavior of these individuals does not represent the values of Loudoun’s fire and rescue service and will not be tolerated by any of our volunteer companies or the Department. This incident involved off-duty personnel and a retired fire engine, so fire and rescue readiness was not jeopardized.

Swanson was booked and briefly held at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center before he was released on his own recognizance.

Two of the firefighters, both of the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company, have resigned.

Two more, from other companies, have been suspended while investigations continue.

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