Sunday, June 20, 2010

Newlywed Arrested After Rushing Wife to Hospital!...

When a newlywed cancer survivor with a heart condition started showing stroke symptoms, her husband knew he needed to get her to the hospital immediately. Now, the new groom faces a felony charge from an encounter with a police officer he says delayed his wife's access to treatment.

Just married last week, Eric and Aline Wright of Chattanooga, Tenn., both medical professionals at Erlanger Medical Center, were enjoying what was supposed to be their honeymoon when Aline's speech became slurred and her face began to droop on Wednesday. During the ride to the hospital, Eric says he stopped at two red lights but ran them both. After passing through the second red light, a police cruiser pulled behind the couple's vehicle, following it with lights and sirens on to the hospital.

Eric, a trained medic who served two tours in Iraq, said he knew getting Aline to medical care as quickly as possible was critical and at first felt glad when the officer pulled in behind them.
Eric said he reasoned that instead of pulling over and wasting time explaining the medical emergency in a potentially life-or-death situation, he could have that conversation with the officer at the hospital. "As long as my wife gets into the hospital and gets taken care of then we can talk about things like red lights," he told AOL News.

But, according to Eric's account, Chattanooga Officer Jim Daves blocked Eric, who was carrying Aline, a left-leg amputee, from immediately entering the hospital.

"I remember having to stop. I was trying to explain the situation, but he didn't really stop to listen. He never asked what her condition was," said Eric. "I remember having to step around him to get in to the emergency room."

According to WATC NewsChannel 9, the officer's written affidavit says, "Defendant stopped in the ER entrance and jumped out and ran. Police made contact with Defendant at the passenger side of his vehicle and I grabbed the Defendant's arm and he pushed me away scraping my arm with his fingernail. Defendant yelled and said it was an emergency..."

The officer further wrote, "Defendant pushed through the crowd and carried a female back into the emergency room and place[d] her in a room with no permission of the hospital staff."

Eric denies those allegations.

"I never had any contact with the officer at all," he said. Furthermore, he says, he called the emergency room to alert them of the situation and let them know he would be arriving.

Eric said after he entered the hospital, the officer tried to come into the area where Aline was being treated, interrupting her care.

"At that point it was crucial I be present," Eric told AOL News, saying his wife was unable at the time to accurately relay the advancement of her symptoms and her medical history.

Courtesy Wright Family
Eric and Aline Wright say a Chattanooga, Tenn., police officer prevented Aline from reaching medical treatment as quickly as possible when she was showing signs of a stroke.

The officer allegedly told Eric later that he would be charged with a felony and needed to turn himself in to police. The new groom went to Hamilton County Jail on Thursday and was told there was no warrant out for his arrest.

The couple thought that the ordeal was over.

"But apparently it wasn't. I was awakened abruptly by people coming in the room," on Friday, Aline told WRCB. Eric was arrested and charged with assault on police, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, a felony count of evading arrest and other traffic violations, according to a Chattanooga police blotter.

A police spokeswoman told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that there was a supervisory complaint filed against the officer after the incident. The officer's supervisor reviewed the complaint, determining that "no policy violations, rules or procedures or laws were broken," the spokeswoman told the paper. Calls by AOL News for comment from the department have not been returned.

Eric is out on $7,500 bail. A court date is scheduled for July 9. Eric said he has been suspended from the hospital because of the felony charge, though he hasn't been convicted. A message left with the hospital's public relations department has not yet been returned.

"It's definitely a financial burden to me and my wife," said Eric, who added the couple may consider filing a civil suit. "This is really going to end up costing me and my wife thousands of dollars....


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