When Rick Rickerson rushed to help a woman trapped in her vehicle following a serious crash, the last thing he expected was to end up handcuffed in the back of the police car on his way to jail. But, that's exactly what happened on a Pike County highway in Georgia, according to WXIA-TV.
Rickerson was driving down GA 109 when he witnessed the car in front of him flip multiple times, trapping the woman inside. Rickerson, who spent 30 years as a firefighter rising to the rank of battalion chief before retiring, knew he had to do something. He stopped his truck and rushed to her car.
“My training pretty much kicked in as soon as I witnessed the wreck,” he recalled. “You go into the mode of firefighter when you see this happen."
He was joined by a few other people who witnessed the crash and together they managed to pry Rebecca Buchanan from her crushed car. Rickerson cleared her airway and was able to help to start breathing.
That's when things went south. As Rickerson was rendering first aid, Georgia State Patrol trooper, Sgt. Rodney Jeter showed up and demanded Rickerson move his truck, which was still in the middle of the highway with the keys in the ignition.
Rickerson refused, saying he needed to stay with Buchanan because she was barely breathing.
“I said, ‘It’s mine,’ He said, ‘I need you to move it.’ And I looked over at him and I said, ‘I’m not leaving this patient.’
“He turned sideways and said, ‘Sir? I said I want this truck moved!’ And again, 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.”
Eventually, another woman on the scene would move his truck. It didn't end with a simple argument during a chaotic accident scene. After paramedics arrived and took over caring for Rebecca, Sgt. Jeter handcuffed and arrested Rickerson taking him to jail to be "booked on an obstruction of a law enforcement officer charge."
Despite what happened, Rickerson said he would do it again because, at the end of the day, Rebecca Buchanan is alive.
“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.”