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Posted: May 23, 2014

Rescue Squad member accused of using emergency lights to deliver pizza


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By Greg Suskin

ROCK HILL, S.C. —

Delivering a pizza while it's still fresh and hot is important, but it's not an emergency.  

Thomas Reid, a volunteer with a South Carolina rescue squad, found that out after police charged him with reckless driving, and improper use of an emergency signal.

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A man called 911 after reporting seeing a green Honda with yellow and red lights flashing, chasing a car.

The caller told deputies the driver was wearing a Pizza Hut shirt and name tag, and pulled into a mobile home park near highway 161, before taking off at a high rate of speed.

Sheriff's deputies said Reid was making a delivery for Pizza Hut when he flipped on emergency lights on his own personal car, and apparently chased another car.

Joanna Brown works at the mobile home park where witnesses said Reid pulled in.  She thinks her kids saw his car.

"My daughters said there was this cool green car and it had lots of lights on it, and she said it looked like a cop car almost," Brown said.

The 911 caller gave dispatchers the license tag, and deputies found Reid at work.  He denied chasing anyone, or turning on his emergency lights, at all.

The squad's spokesman, Capt. Joe Shackelford was surprised to learn of Reid's arrest.
 
"We don't condone members using emergency lights for any other reason other than an emergency situation," Shackelford said.

According to the report, when a deputy asked Reid if he'd turned on his emergency lights, he told the deputy they were broken.

When the deputy asked if he could flip the switch to be sure the lights were broken, Reid said the switch itself was broken.  When the deputy then asked who Reid's supervisor was at the Rescue Squad, Reid became uncooperative, telling the officer he could find out on his own. 

The report also stated Reid took out his phone and was recording the deputy during the process, and asking him what he was doing.

Shackelford said because Reid is a new volunteer, he isn't allowed to put emergency lights on his car anyway. Volunteers are permitted to install the lights after six months, Shackelford said, when they've had more training.

"I did not know anything about him having lights or anything on that car," Shackelford said.  "As soon as I heard, I had him take them off there."

Brown said what Reid is accused of doing is just immature.

"He's taking advantage of the lights, and having authority.  He thinks it's cool, and it's a power trip I think," she said.

WSOC went to Reid's home, and though his car was there, now stripped of its emergency lights, no one answered the door.

Shackelford said he has suspended Reid from the Rescue Squad indefinitely.

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