published Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Chattanooga: All charges against man rushing wife to hospital dropped

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All seven charges against a Chattanooga man who ran two red lights last week while rushing his wife to the hospital have been dropped, the district attorney’s office said today.

Eric Jesse Wright was charged with assault on police, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, felony evading arrest, registration expired and two counts of traffic signals violation. He was booked into Hamilton County Jail Friday and released on bond.

He was taking his wife, Aline, to Erlanger hospital Wednesday night, believing that she was suffering a stroke.

Officer James Daves, who saw Mr. Wright run the red lights and followed him to Erlanger with lights flashing, has been placed on paid administrative leave until an internal affairs investigation is completed, police officials said.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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princehal said...

The new questions: 1. Will Mr. Wright get the $ back that was paid to post bail ($7,500)? 2. Will the officer be reprimanded or did he just get a paid vacation for his incompetence? 3. Will CPD learn anything from this incident?

Probably not, paid vacation, no.

June 22, 2010 at 1:05 p.m.
Bobsafeside said...

I'm very impressed with the district attorney's office of your fair city and the decision not to press charges against this man. Times are tough on everyone and the sooner people can forgive and try to understand the situation the better for all of your citizens. Now if we could only get some of the DA's logic "sent" up here to Seattle we wouldn't have the mess we have. All the best to ALL your citizens in Chattanooga!

June 22, 2010 at 1:17 p.m.
thezgrp said...

Unfortunately, it is occasions like this that give police officers a bad name.

June 22, 2010 at 2:34 p.m.
jcinga said...

Well, it's good to know that someone at city hall has enough sense to realize that there are "loose cannons" and "vigilantes" representing the city who are wearing police uniforms. Glad the right decision was made. Now, what about when "Chattanooga Police spokeswoman Lt. Kim Noorbergen defended the police department, saying there is not one overarching policy when it comes to making arrests. Every police officer has wide discretion in evaluating individual circumstances when a person is deemed to have broken the law, she said." Maybe the department's practices and policies need a little revamping.

June 22, 2010 at 2:36 p.m.
KTerceira said...

Guess this just goes to show all those posters that said we were reacting without having both sides of the story.

As stated is previous posts, DA had no choice in the matter as no jurist in their right mind would have convicted.

June 22, 2010 at 3:22 p.m.
moonpie said...

And will he appear in "Just Busted"?

June 22, 2010 at 3:31 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

"And will he appear in "Just Busted"?"

Unfortunately, he most likely will... along with all the other innocent people in there. That rag should be called "Just Convicted" IMO.

June 22, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.
DMandreason said...

Now they need to file assault charges against the idiot cop for obstructing Mrs. Wright's access to the ER. They need to fire him for failure to render aid in a timely and reasonable manner.

If he wants to write a ticket, fine. Let him, after the woman is in a doctor's care. But preventing her from going into the hospital is assault, and since the guy is a cop and armed, it is felonious assault. The guy needs to go to prison.

June 22, 2010 at 4:01 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

I think the officer, the man, and the President need to have an beer summit to settle this matter. Is President Obama available?

June 22, 2010 at 5:01 p.m.
flalawdawg said...

I am a officer with over 18 years on the job in Florida. This idiot officer made the news all the way down here! This kinda of officer gives us all a bad name. We need to weed this kind out. He needs to learn discretion. Officers aren't out to punish people, we are supposed to keep people safe. Some people I stop need a ticket, some a stern warning and others neither would matter.

June 22, 2010 at 6:25 p.m.
txcutty said...

Mr. Wright surely deserved to be delivered from this, and I hope there's a way to get his bail posting back. But...were he black and not a veteran (Thank you, Mr. Wright) do you think this would have ended the same way? Really? Do you think you'd have even heard of it? Really? The City of Chattanooga is about 36% black in the last full census. How does that strike you as a percentage upon which to measure news coverage in this city? Features, news, life style, the whole thing?

June 22, 2010 at 6:34 p.m.
rolando said...

Well, the next time Mr. Wright needs to get to the ER with his wife, I am sure no one will ticket him no matter how many red lights he runs or how fast he drives...or anyone else, for that matter. All you visitors better watch out for speeding, red-light runners...

This wasn't was politics. The biased public outcry will probably result in the figurative lynching of a Police Officer as a scapegoat without so much as a public hearing. Congratulations to each of you.

Incidentally, the only version of events we will hear now is that of a woman suffering a possible stroke. Paul Harvey is rolling over in his grave for there is no "rest of the story."

June 22, 2010 at 7:40 p.m.
showandtrail said...

With the rash of shootings and home invasions in the area you would think resources could be better spent not chasing someone trying to get to a hospital. It's getting old reading about officers not having the ability to make common sense choices in our city.

June 22, 2010 at 7:47 p.m.
NotSurprised said...

Stupid is as Stupid does. Makes everyone want to believe that They're Not From These Here Parts. Except for those that would like to somehow justify their own faults by supporting this cop. Chattanooga needs to look in the mirror.

June 22, 2010 at 7:55 p.m.
fender79 said...

I thinks its funny how people who dont work at erlanger, dont know the people and only know a story that is one sided. A story that was told by Mr. Wright and his wife and believe every single bit of it. Maybe people try to plead for sympathy to try to get out of trouble when the know they did something wrong. Now a police officer that was just doing his job is now in trouble. Maybe people should not be so quick to just jump and think maybe. It wasnt "evil" police and "poor" victim. In one stupid stunt this man made the police and EMS look like idiots. I just hope they are never really in need of an ambulance or the police.

June 22, 2010 at 8 p.m.
DMandreason said...

It is not about a ticket, Mr. Rolando. The officer could have assisted the driver in getting the sick woman into the ER for care, then hauled him out and cited or arrested him. He committed assault by interfering with her medical care. And since he did it under the color of authority while armed, it was felonious assault. The guy needs to be fired and made an example of. The first duty of a cop is public safety. When the decision is between a life in jeopardy and a traffic infraction, if you do not have the mental capacity and the common sense to make the right decision then you are in the wrong line of work as a cop because that is about as easy as the decisions ever get. And as for you, Mr. Rolando, you need some high school civics lessons, stat.

June 22, 2010 at 8:09 p.m.
jayhay182 said...

So if all the charges have been dropped what's the point in posting his mug shot on here? He's not a criminal. The hopefully soon to be former cop is the criminal. He thinks that having a badge gets him a license to do whatever he wants.

June 22, 2010 at 8:29 p.m.
fender79 said...

how is an officer at night suppose to be able to tell that a person is running from them when Mr.Wright never stopped for him. Oh yeah I forgot... an officer should be able to tell exactly why someones is running from them just out of the blue. The officer never came incontact with Mr. Wright until the stopped at the hospital and number 2. the officer follow mr. wright into the er he never stopped or caused any delay of care. This is a one sided story and alot of facts have been left out to help a case. Once agian everyone whos commenting was not there that night unless your are an employee of erlanger. I guess next time I get in trouble I'll just call the media and tell what ever story makes me sound and look better.

June 22, 2010 at 8:31 p.m.
rling said...

As sad and stupid as this entire affair has been, it will be sadder and stupider yet if the officer involved, his supervisor who reviewed and approved the arrest, and the few (very few) people who are still defending the arrest don't learn from the mistake. It's not a matter of believing one story or another; it's just common sense that you should stop and think very carefully before you try to arrest a man while he's carrying his desperately ill wife into the emergency room.

If Officer Jim Daves is as fine a man as some of his friends have said, he'll weather this self-induced storm, learn from it, and do better next time. We should all try to do the same.

June 22, 2010 at 8:36 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

I think that rolando is going to have go out and buy some Gold Bond...I just bet his butt is chapped over all of this!

June 22, 2010 at 9:01 p.m.
DMandreason said...

Please do not waste our time. Had Mr. Wright been in front of a 7-11 or a bank carrying a woman in a hurry, it would have been one thing, Mr. Fender. At the Emergency Room entrance it is quite another. Nobody "has to be there". If you do not realize this then Chattanooga has bigger problems with their schools than they do with their police. And that is saying something.

June 22, 2010 at 9:51 p.m.
jpo said...

I have served in a war with this man, and I believe he is of good character. Considering the strong manner in which he carried out his duties overseas, I think the best course of action would be to support transporting the patient to the hospital, and then to hear him out later. While I don't know all the details in this matter, I am surprised to learn that it ended with arrest. Instead, I would have hoped that it had concluded with safe and effective medical support.

Any monies paid out by him should be returned. It is in the overarching interest of all public servants to safeguard the welfare of the life and property of all people in our state. Thus, minor disputes over the provision of those services should be quietly and amicably resolved without additional payment or penalty.

Hopefully, a gentlemanly resolution of this matter can be achieved without further incident.

June 22, 2010 at 10:02 p.m.
Gipsy said...

This is madness!! Everyone is so quick to string up the police officer in this case as if he acted maliciously!!

Think about it, what would you have done as a police officer in that situation, the officer had no idea where the car was going or why it ran the lights, all he knows is the guy is clearly breaking the law and he won't pull over. It's hardly the officer fault! Is the officer just supposed to assume that a car running lights is on the way to the hospital? NO, then any criminal breaking the law can just let the cops chase him to a hospital and act like hes going to the ER, when hes really going to dump drugs or weapons, or try to disappear completely.

What if the officer had NOT pursued the man, and the man had wrecked into an innocent person(s), who was not on the way to the hospital, minding their own business and obeying the traffic laws?? Then everyone would be saying "WHERES THE POLICE AT WHEN YOU NEED THEM??" or that the officer didn't do his job!!

Mr Wright should have called 911 and let them know he was speeding b/c of a time critical emergency and that an officer was attempting to pull him over.

Everyone just be GLAD that the LADY didn't die from a stroke, the MAN didn't hit and injure anyone, and the police officer didn't shoot or taze him for making his adrenaline glands dump so hard!!


June 22, 2010 at 11 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

rolando, the cop was just wrong. You don't block someone from taking a seriously ill woman into the emergency room. Ever.

If you have a problem with the driver, want to give him a ticket, whatever ... you do that after the lady in distress has received medical attention.

The cop in question is an @$$hole and an idiot. He should be fired immediately. End of story.

Cops are sometimes falsely accused of wrongdoing. That is a shame. But, that is not this situation. This cop screwed up, big time, and he should pay the price. I hope he does.

June 22, 2010 at 11:22 p.m.
squirleyshirley said...

Mr Wright could have stopped and told the police officer what was happening. The officer should have realized when Mr Wright was carrying his wife into the emergency room that there was an emergency and tried to help instead of hindering. Any arrest could have waited until Mrs Wright was being taken care of. When something similar happened to me my husband stopped and told the officer that I was having chest pains and he was taking me to the er. The officer let us go on--we were only a half mile away. I am sure that he contacted the hospital to make sure there was an emergency and I am also sure that if it hadn't been they would have found us and thrown the book at him. Point is I got to the er and had no problems from the police. Not everyone can afford a ride in an ambulance, squirleyshirley

June 22, 2010 at 11:44 p.m.
fender79 said...

Ok Mdanderson heres something you can take with you. I work in that emergency room! Do you I can tell you about 5 or 6 good lies that were printed in relation to this story. People have to follow a set of rules when the come to an ER you CANNOT just run off the street and run back to a room and place a pt in a bed. Reasons being I have seen massive fights breakout due to patients familys being emotional. The fine men and women of the chattanooga police department have always had our backs. Now Im sure your an expert probably watch ER dramas on t.v making you an authority on the subject. There are crazy people out there that will do crazy things. Maybe everyone should put themselves in the place of all other people in the situation. Fact 1 mister wright nearly T-Boned the office when running the red light WOW... how bought if he would have hit a family... I dont know maybe yours. Or how about if he was mentally disturbed and decided to run into the er and when he felt his wife wasnt being taken care of quick enough started to shoot the place up. I know in your bleeding heart all's good world that stuff doesnt happen but in my world its a possiblity. I am proud of the cop that checks and watches out for the well being of the ER staff. Also being closely related to the EMS systems I know that emergency traffic is something that is governed tightly even ambulances have to use great caution while running emergency traffic. How about trying to actually know what your talking about instead of going off the deep end! If you've never been in an ER, Police, or EMS you really have no right to judge. If you had been there to witness cool. If not maybe people should be alittle more apprehensive about jumping to conclusions.

June 23, 2010 at 12:40 a.m.
fender79 said...

Oh by the way Mr. Wright was NOT and I mean was NOT arrested that night!!! any one can check the arrest record and see that.

June 23, 2010 at 12:42 a.m.
OllieH said...

A GREAT Clay Bennett cartoon on this story:

June 23, 2010 at 1:05 a.m.
whoknows said...

Wow, I know several people who work at Erlanger, but after reading fender79's muddled post, it made me lose respect for the ER. I just hope fender is a janitor of some sort and not a nurse, cause I definitely would not want to be given medical service by this person. Apparently, not only was fender at the ER when Mr. Wright pulled up, fender also was following him the whole way to the ER in order know exactly what happened at the particular red lights in question. Rolando, what would you have done in this situation? Your wife, in serious trouble, that could result in brain damage. How would you react to anyone trying to prevent you from getting the care she needed in that emergency? I haven't really seen anyone say that the cop should not have followed him. Any cop doing their job would have pursued Mr. Wright, but once it is clear he is going into the hospital, Officer (term used loosely in this case) Daves should have assisted Mr. Wright in getting in the hospital then written a ticket for the red lights. It's that simple.

June 23, 2010 at 7:50 a.m.
rolando said...

whoknows, I posted elsewhere that that exact thing DID happen to me -- except it was my wife's severe chest pain at 2:30 or 3 AM. On my 15-odd mile high speed drive [on empty streets] to the Baroness Erlanger ER [Chatt's heart center]. I ran NO red lights -- they were green.

I literally prayed for cop. I would have stopped, stepped out, closed the door, hands held high fully in his headlights [the cop would have no idea what was happening] and told him I needed an escort and why. He undoubtedly would have given me the help I needed. [The trip was uneventful and successful. Two days later my wife returned home...with a stent. I am eternally grateful to those working the ER that night.]

THAT is what I would have done, NOT run from the cop.

BTW, I don't know where you. and most of the other people posting on this story. were getting your information unless 1] YOU were there, or 2] you got it from a possible stroke-victim's story of what she witnessed. You certainly didn't get it from the article or from any published police report...because it isn't there. Anyone experienced in dealing with public knows about witness statements -- for every eyewitness you get a different story.

Mr Wright was NOT delayed at the ER entry; I question his failure to get her a wheelchair but understand -- I further question the purported "advance call" to the ER. And Wright was not arrested until two days later, allowing him to remain with his wife until then.

In any case, this is all moot now. The DA has [politically] withdrawn all charges. They didn't need the hassle. No doubt Officer Daves with be hung out to dry over this one.

Once again, our police force has learned another lesson on the public pillory -- don't stop speeding light runners; assume they are just going to an ER and let them go.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

June 23, 2010 at 9:50 a.m.
rolando said...

fender 79, you are dead on accurate.

DMandrasons -- I can understand why you are "demanding reason"; yours is a bit faulty. The victim was supposedly carried into the ER by her husband; he needed no help, evidently. Matter of fact, he shoved Officer Daves aside in getting there...perhaps the Officer was offering help and was rebuffed -- ever think of that? -- the article doesn't say either way...and we will now never know.

My "civics lessons" were learned during 40 years of public service, thank you.

The lesson to be taken away here is to wait for both sides of any story.

June 23, 2010 at 10:01 a.m.
whoknows said...

Then the exact same thing did not happen to you. You encountered no traffic, no red lights, and no cops. You are certain you would have stopped, or obeyed other laws when you admit to driving at high speeds? You say (now) you would have stopped if there was a cop, but do you know that for sure, in your rush to take her to the hospital, when you are so close, you would take that (what could be crucial) time to stop and explain? If a cop sees someone driving like that with their flashers, it's safe to assume an emergency. That does not mean the cop should do nothing about it. But I think you're missing a crucial point here. No one is arguing saying the cop should have just let him run the red lights and not followed at all... And I did not claim to know anything that happened. I did allude to the same thing you just mentioned in your last post. The article said Mr. Wright shoved the officer aside (which resulted in the assalt charge because poor baby Daves was "scratched by a fingernail"). Is it not a safe assumption to say that the officer was indeed standing in the way? Would Mr. Wright have gone out of his way to push the officer? I think not. The report also said one of the first things Daves said was "I'm going to arrest you." That also sounds as if he was doing nothing to help, but rather to hinder. Just because you question the "advanced call" does not mean it wasn't true. The DA didn't "politically" withdraw the charges. The Necessity Law is in the law books. The link has been posted for you at least twice now. Read it. It's a reasonable law that calls for reasonable action in the state of imminent danger. There has been nothing PROVEN to show that Mr. Wright at any point acted unreasonable. All that's been shown is poor judgement and misconduct on Daves part.

June 23, 2010 at 10:47 a.m.
DMandreason said...

I have 10 years of work as an EMT/Paramedic. And NO, the first thought when a hospital employee brings in his non-ambulatory wife showing stroke symptoms in his arms is NOT that he is going to shoot the place up. It is the paranoid answer of someone reaching beyond reason to justify actions that are not justifiable.

You are talking to the wrong guy. I know how ER staff and cops bond, I know the first impulse is to defend the officer. This guy has his priorities backwards. And further, had it been a real assault, why didn't the officer proceed with the arrest after the woman finally reached the inside of the ER? I'll tell you why, because he saw that she was really sick and needed care, something that had not even occurred to him, because he is a dumbass. So he left, but then began to think about what was going to happen to him when the details got out so he filed a report with a bunch of trumped up charges, using the bad cop typical fake charge litany.

Mr. Wright proved his good faith by going to the police station to turn himself in. His good faith took less time to demonstrate itself than Daves's bad faith.

But anyway, for all of those things that the story got wrong -- something I can and will vouch for is the consistent inaccuracy of news accounts -- then I am sure we will see the charges against Mr. Wright reinstated and Officer Daves vindicated after release of the surveillance video and your expert testimony as to the truth of the officer's original account!

sarcasm light off

June 23, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.
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