All charges dropped against husband taking wife to hospital
By Callie Starnes
Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - He was rushing his wife to Erlanger last week, and treated the red lights as stop signs. And when he didn't pull over for a police officer, the firestorm began.
The Police Chief and District Attorney both agreed, Jesse Wright's need to get his wife to the hospital outweighed the laws he broke.
He and his wife tell Eyewitness News they hope this never happens again.
Jesse Wright says Chattanooga's Police Chief was the one to deliver the news that the charges against him were dropped.
"He offered his apology on behalf of the police department, even though he was not involved himself. He felt as though that was appropriate and I appreciated that from him," says Wright.
The apology comes one week after Jesse's arrest.
Trying to get his wife Aline, who appeared to be suffering a stroke, to Erlanger-- Jesse ran two red lights.
"They've decided that the necessity to get Mrs. Wright to the hospital was greater than the charges he was arrested for," says Lt. Kim Noorbergen.
Lt. Kim Noorbergen says based on the report Officer James Daves presented to his supervisor and a magistrate, there was probable cause to arrest Jesse.
"Running a traffic light is a violation so there was probable cause to do that. Should it have been done? it's a judgement call," says Lt. Noorbergen.
Eyewitness News learned Tuesday the department's policy manual does not include protocol for how to handle a medical emergency during a traffic violation.
It does state an officer should check for signs of physical impairment, and emotional distress.
Noorbergen says the department is taking a hard look at its guidelines and continuing its investigation into the Wrights' claim that Officer Daves blocked the emergency room entrance.
Jesse and Aline Wright say that's all they want.
"I don't know the reasons why things happened this way but I don't want it to happen to anyone else. It's time you can't get back," says Aline Wright.
"We'll take some time to consider what other steps we need to take legally, but my biggest concern is that it not happen again," says Jesse Wright.
Police say in a medical emergency, call 911 so officers on the road know you're driving to the hospital.
Jesse told Eyewitness News he considered calling for help, but when he saw the blue lights in his rear-view mirror he assumed he had an escort.