Pa. fire chief faces DUI charges after emergency vehicle crash

The chief was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he crashed the SUV into two telephone poles

By FireRescue1 Staff

EDGEWORTH BOROUGH, Pa. — A fire chief is facing charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving after allegedly crashing an emergency vehicle while drunk.

North Hampton Fire Chief John Schwend is accused of crashing into two telephone poles while driving with a blood alcohol level more than two times the legal limit, according to KDKA.

“I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the defendant’s breath, and the defendant exhibited slurred speech and glossy eyes,” the arresting officer wrote in the criminal complaint. “The defendant stated he had only consumed 5-6 beers.”

Police said the crash occurred after a party at another fire department hall. They said another local fire chief, who was not named, was pulled over earlier that night with Schwend as a passenger, and the officers drove the two men home without making any arrests.

Police said the two then went out again and the crashed occurred while Schwend was behind the wheel.

Northern Regional Police Department Chief John Sicilia said the vehicle involved was an emergency vehicle SUV, according to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. He said Schwend and the passenger were injured in the crash but expected to recover.

The crash occurred at about 2 a.m. on Dec. 15 and charges were filed against the chief this Monday. Schwend faces two counts of driving under the influence and one count of reckless driving.

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