EAGLES MERE - Anytime a driver of an Eagles Mere Volunteer Fire Co. vehicle is involved in an accident, the driver automatically will undergo a blood-alcohol test, according to Fire Chief Brian Smith.
The change was amended to the fire company's bylaws at the company's monthly meeting Monday night, Smith said in a prepared statement.
"The action was prompted by an accident in September when the driver of a fire company ambulance lost control and ran off Laporte Avenue, injuring two volunteer firefighters" who were treating a patient in the back of the ambulance, Smith said.
Smith said that when he arrived at the crash scene, he "suggested the driver take a blood-alcohol test as a precaution to eliminate any doubt about whether alcohol was involved."
Following the Sept. 13 accident, state police issued a statement that the ambulance driver "was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants" because "it was determined the driver had been drinking alcohol."
However, within two weeks, state police said the ambulance driver would not be charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants because the driver's blood-alcohol content level was below the legal limit of 0.08. The driver was charged with two summary traffic violations, including careless driving.
However, a district judge found the driver not guilty of the careless driving charge, and another judge dismissed the second offense, failing to stay in proper lane, according to Smith.
The fire company "obtained the complete blood test results" of the driver, and the results "showed that the driver had no alcohol in his bloodstream," Smith said.
"By amending its bylaws, the fire company seeks to establish that it abides by the highest standards for public safety and does not tolerate drinking by its volunteers," Smith said in the statement.