Fire Chief’s Arrest Places Black Eye on Greene County First Responders

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JEFFERSON, Iowa -- It is an arrest that first responders are not proud of.

"It gives everyone a black eye that is in law enforcement, fire service, ambulance service, and with that black eye, it travels around and people look at us negatively from that," explained Greene County Sheriff Jack Williams.

Thomas Launderville (WHO-HD)

Jefferson Police Department, along with the Green County Sheriff Department, says Grand Junction volunteer firefighter and fire chief Thomas Launderville was driving a patient to the Greene County Medical Center shortly after 11:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in an ambulance and intoxicated.  Williams said, "No one is above the law."

Police Sgt. Shane Jones first became suspicious when he noticed Launderville slurring his words over the radio.  At the hospital, Jones reported Launderville appeared unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol.  When asked if he had been drinking, Launderville admitted to having three or four beers and was arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated.

"It`s very concerning. Something you hope you don`t run into or see," Williams said.

Launderville initially refused a breath and field sobriety test, but once he arrived at the Greene County Law Enforcement Center, a breath test revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.210, which is nearly three times above the legal limit of 0.08.

"We take any arrest, any OWI, very seriously because most fatalities are caused by OWI or distracted driving, and he was both talking on the radio and driving at the same time," said Williams.

This is Launderville's second OWI. His first came in October 2014 and also in Greene County.


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