Fire Chief Found Not Guilty After Being Criminally Charged for Responding to a Crash
Corey Rahn has been a fireman with Rincon Georgia for nearly 30 years, and has been chief for more than 20. On August 10, 2015, Rahn was in his personal vehicle, which as chief, was outfitted with a radio and emergency lights, when a call for assistance went out. A truck carrying gasoline had collided with a garbage truck, and a man was critically injured inside one of the vehicles. Rahn responded because he knew his expertise would be needed. Nonetheless, an overzealous Port Wentworth Georgia cop chased after Rahn and cited him for multiple criminal traffic charges. Last month a jury, more than a year after the incident, found Rahn not guilty.
The argument made by the officer was that the color of the lights installed on Rahn’s personal vehicle were not the proper color for an emergency response. The lights were white and yellow, instead of the required red and blue. Despite arriving at the crash scene and immediately being recognized as the chief, the cops decided anyway to issue him three criminal citations for reckless driving, fleeing the police and running a traffic signal. The fact that the officer involved knew the chief was responding to a crash and decided to cite him later on, is nothing more than a message to the fire department and a blatant show of disrespect.
The jury took less than 30 minutes to find Rahn not guilty of all charges. The fact remained that Rahn was responding to a crash with critical injuries in the name of public safety. His only mistake was having the wrong color lights on his response vehicle. The police had no interest in professional courtesy, which in this case, was absolutely called for. In a video released by the department, the conversation between the fire chief and the police supervisor was equally as enraging as the ticketing itself. The police supervisor, despite the facts, opted to “back his officer” and overlook the realities of the situation.
The city manager even commented on the incident. “We’re not real pleased with the citations. You can imagine. We have a man here with 30 years and no citations, no points, either personally or responding to a call, who has always exercised due care. And we’re very confident that he is needed in this situation.” The officer was initially going to take Rahn to jail, being caught on camera saying, “Who is this right here? Well he’s fixing to go to jail after he’s done with this right here.” When he realized the scope of the situation, he changed his tune slightly saying, “He’s the fire chief. No, no, he’s getting a citation. He’s gonna get it.”
According to the prosecutor, “It is not that Mr. Rahn is a bad person. The problem was that Mr. Rahn kept going. My problem with this case is he knew better.” Rahn already stated that he thought the officer was responding to the same crash as him, which would indicate he thought he was doing absolutely nothing wrong. Why the State Attorney would support such a case and support the police department’s decision is unknown, however, both the police department and the prosecutor heard the voice of reason from the jury loud and clear.