Retired fire chief speaks out about getting arrested for saving woman

Rick Rickerson leapt into action and pulled Rebecca Buchanan from her crushed vehicle, and was arrested when he refused to leave her side

By FireRescue1 Staff

MEANSVILLE, Ga. — A retired fire chief who jumped into action to save a woman after witnessing a vehicle crash recalled being arrested after refusing to leave her side.

WUSA9 reported that former Battalion Chief Rick Rickerson and other bystanders pulled Rebecca Buchanan to safety from her crushed vehicle.

Georgia State Patrol trooper Sgt. Rodney Jeter later asked Rickerson to move his truck, but he refused to leave Buchanan’s side to do so and was arrested for obstruction.

“He turned sideways and said, ‘Sir? I said I want this truck moved!’” Rickerson recalled. “I said, ‘I’m not leaving my patient.’ She had had only two or three breaths. I was prepared to breathe for her if she had stopped breathing again. I wasn’t leaving that patient. There [were] no first responders. So, I was the only one on the scene.”

Sgt. Jeter, however, claims Rickerson was no longer treating the woman.

“Rickerson was standing behind two others that were kneeling down beside the vehicle. There were three people that were standing immediately around the vehicle,” Sgt. Jeter said. “He was not touching the driver at the time and was not rendering aid. I called out to Rickerson and said, ‘Hey, sir, can you please move your vehicle?’ He replied, ‘No, I’m not moving my vehicle right now!’ I replied, ‘Sir, I need you to move your vehicle to make room for emergency vehicles that are coming.’”


Rickerson said Sgt. Jeter claimed he was a paramedic, but was not rendering aid to the patient.

“I questioned him, ‘You’re a paramedic? You didn’t put your hands on that patient. You didn’t help us open that door,’” Rickerson said. “All paramedics have vehicle extrication training. But he didn’t do anything to assist us with this patient.”

Another bystander eventually moved the truck for Rickerson, and Sgt. Jeter told the first responders that Rickerson would be the best source of information about the incident.

“He’s gonna be your best bet on some good witness information. I’ll let you get that before I tell him what I’m gonna tell him,” Sgt. Jeter can be heard saying on police footage. “I almost … I come close … I had to really control myself to keep from arresting him just a while ago.”

“He thinks he knows every single thing there is to know about everything,” another officer can be heard saying. “He is a piece of s**t. He’s a piece of s**t.”

Jeter wrote in the incident report that Rickerson “refused to cooperate the entire time.” Rickerson said he was cuffed and placed in the back of the cruiser while a helicopter approached to airlift Buchanan to a hospital.


Georgia DPS Incident Report by Julie Wolfe on Scribd



Rickerson added that he did exactly what he was trained to do at the scene of a crash.

“I spotted my vehicle just like I would my command car,” he said. “I haven’t even had a parking ticket in over 30 years. And now I have an obstruction to a law enforcement officer on my record,” he said. “I will have to explain this the rest of my life.”

Rickerson said, however, that the only thing that matters is that Buchanan survived.

“I would not do anything different. The outcome is this lady is alive … there’s no cross on the side of the road of that highway.”



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