Newlywed couple: Officer blocked us from ER during bride's stroke
By Callie Starnes & WRCB Staff
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – A patient, believed to be having a stroke, says an officer with the Chattanooga Police Department blocked her husband from taking her to the emergency room at Erlanger Wednesday night.
Aline Wright is a cancer survivor, amputee and a newlywed. Wednesday night she began to show signs she was having a stroke.
"I started feeling some left arm numbness and a facial droop," said Aline.
"It appeared to me that I was probably having a stroke."
That's when her husband of four days, Jesse Wright, put her in the car and rushed her to the Erlanger Medical Center. Wright knows an emergency. He is a nurse technician at Erlanger.
On the way to the hospital, Aline says Jesse treated two red lights like stop signs. He would stop and then proceed if no traffic was coming. After Jesse ran the second stop light one block from Erlanger, the officer turned on the cruiser's blue lights and followed the couple into the emergency room parking lot.
"At that point we figured because we were so close to Erlanger emergency department that the police would be aware that's where we were going," said Aline.
According to Aline, the officer caught up with the couple as they were attempting to enter the emergency room at Erlanger Medical Center. Aline says her husband was carrying her in his arms because she could not walk. According to Aline, the officer blocked the entrance and demanded answers for running the red lights.
"He picks me up in his arms and the officer continues to block the way into the emergency room," said Aline.
"He's standing between Jesse and I, and the emergency room doors."
Aline says eventually the officer allowed them to enter the hospital, but says he didn't stop there.
Aline tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News that once the couple was placed in a hospital room, the officer attempted to enter their room to arrest Jesse for evading the police.
Erlanger medical personnel then turned the officer away, informing him that since Aline could not speak Jesse was needed to answer questions for the doctors.
Thursday morning Erlanger security informed the couple that a warrant for Jesse's arrest had been issued, and suggested he turn himself in. Aline says Jesse went to the Hamilton County Jail to turn himself in that evening. According to Aline, jail employees told Jesse that they had no record of a warrant for him and told him he was free to go.
Jesse returned to his ailing wife's bedside at Erlanger Medical Center.
"I thought it was over," said Aline.
"But apparently it wasn't. I was awakened abruptly by people coming in the room."
On Friday morning the police were back at the hospital. This time Jesse surrendered to Erlanger Security who arrested him on behalf of the Chattanooga Police Department.
Channel 3 had the only crew there as Jesse was released on $7,500 bond, about eight hours after being arrested. He is facing seven charges related to Wednesday night's events, including felony evading arrest. He's due in court on July 9th.
Eyewitness News contacted Chattanooga Police today for their side of the story.
Lt. Kim Noorbergen said, "Unless we receive an Internal Affairs complaint on an officer we trust he is doing his job."
The department will not comment further until a formal complaint is filed with the Internal Affairs Department.
Aline Wright says she plans to file a complaint. The couple has already hired an attorney for a possible lawsuit.
An Erlanger spokesperson tells us by law their security guards are obligated to carry out any arrest warrant related to felony charges. The Erlanger spokesperson says once they learned the warrant for Wright's arrest was issued, and they learned he was in the building, they had to arrest him.
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