Town Officials, Berlin Fire Company Seek Fatal Accident Probe

BERLIN — Reports of a Berlin Police Department (BPD) officer driving an ambulance transporting a victim in a fatal accident in December to the hospital have prompted a request for an investigation by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems (MIEMSS).

The Berlin Mayor and Council and the Berlin Fire Company (BFC), which responded to the accident and would typically handle all medical transport, have asked MIEMSS to investigate, acknowledging that having a police officer operate an ambulance is unusual.

BFC leadership is confident that MIEMSS will find no misconduct and stated that the police officer simply drove the ambulance “because he was asked.”

In a letter to MIEMSS, Mayor Gee Williams recounts the town’s understanding of the accident, which took place on Dec. 26 and resulted in the death of Stephen Mumpower, 26, of Berlin. Allegations were made, wrote Williams, that despite having a number of BFC personnel on site, BPD officer Lt. Robert Fisher was required to drive the ambulance transporting Mumpower, “while members of the Berlin Fire Company stood around watching.” The letter also cites allegations that BFC personnel ignored multiple requests from a paramedic on the scene for help driving the ambulance.

“If these allegations are true, this behavior is totally unacceptable and would constitute a dereliction of duty to protect and serve the public,” Williams said. “These allegations were brought to our attention by sworn officers of the Berlin Police Department. We are informed that at least two Maryland State Troopers were also on scene who may have observed this incident.”

BFC Chief Marc Brown and President David Fitzgerald vehemently disagreed with Williams’ characterization of the incident.

“You will find that the Berlin Fire Company did their job like they have for the last 100 years,” promised Brown.

While neither Brown nor Fitzgerald were able to comment on details because of the pending investigation, Brown did state that he has followed up on the incident and believes there was no misconduct.

“At this point, I am completely satisfied with what I’ve heard,” he said.

Brown acknowledged numerous personnel responded to the accident but that the mayor’s portrayal of them standing by while a patient needed to be transported is off base. The reason Fisher drove the ambulance instead of a member of the BFC, Brown explained, was just “because he was asked to.”

Fitzgerald elaborated by pointing out that most of the responders at the mid-day accident were volunteers who may have left jobs, families or other commitments to rush to the scene of the crash. He added some members of the BFC present were not qualified to drive an ambulance.

“There are volunteers who are limited by their training and their abilities as well as time commitments,” said Fitzgerald.

According to Fitzgerald, Fisher was off duty and more than happy to help the BFC in whatever capacity he could. Because Fisher was certified to operate emergency vehicles, Fitzgerald said that the company thought it was perfectly reasonable to ask for his assistance, which he volunteered. No one, stressed Fitzgerald, forced Fisher to do anything.

“We all knew he was a qualified emergency vehicle driver,” said Fitzgerald.

Even with a police officer driving the ambulance, Brown asserted that “at no point at all was any patient care or operation sacrificed.” While Mumford was pronounced deceased after the accident, Brown made it clear that, by his review, having a member of the BFC at the wheel of the ambulance would have made zero impact.  

In Williams’ letter to MIEMSS, the mayor touches on the recent history of bad blood between the town and the BFC over allegations of harassment made last year by a paid EMS member of the company. The allegations ended up having a ripple effect that resulted in the BFC limiting the council’s influence and the town then severing all funding in response in August.

“All of this history is significant because the EMS provider who allegedly requested assistance at the fatal accident on Dec. 26, 2012 was the same provider who made a report of workplace abuse to town officials in February 2012,” the mayor wrote. “This alleged conduct, if substantiated, could adversely affect EMS patient care and public safety for residents, workers and visitors in and around the Town of Berlin.”

The mayor’s accusation is completely off the mark, claimed Fitzgerald, and Fisher being asked to drive an ambulance for the BFC at the accident is in no way related to any workplace harassment report from last year.

“These are wild allegations that the mayor is making with no evidence,” he said.Both the town and the BFC say they are eagerly awaiting the results of the MIEMSS investigation.
Jim Brown, the public relations contact for MIEMSS, said the agency cannot comment at this time.

26 comments on “Town Officials, Berlin Fire Company Seek Fatal Accident Probe

  1. From what I am reading it is not the the officer drove the ambulance BUT that the fire company members that did not step up and do the right thing and HELP! Why go to a scene and not be willing to help. You are going to get a point which equals tax deduction. BFC is playing a dangerous game. Would you want this for your loved one. Not me!

  2. Officer Fisher was ON Duty! When there is a fatality in an accident Officer Fisher responds as a Fatal Accident Reconstruction Team member. However he did give a helping hand unlike the BFC did with their own employee!

  3. I live in berlin and I am scared for my self and for my family when or if I have to call 911 and the BFC show up! I am scared if the BFC will just stand around when someone is YELLING for help to give cfor

  4. Why should charges be brought against anyone??? Because the mere fact that the EMS employee had to stop giving care to the patient to load him up in the ambulance and explain how to drive the ambulance to Officer Fisher. While the BFC just stood around. 22 of the BFC that were standing around at least ONE could have drove!

  5. There is only ONE person that knows the truth, and when the time comes HE will make the ultimate judgement for those “volunteers” that stood around and did NOTHING!

  6. The ambulance captain was on the scene. What did she do? She was asked by the officer on the scene to respond with Berlin’s third ambulance but she went in her personal vehicle. So why didn’t she drive the ambulance instead of the police officer?

  7. If in fact the Berlin Police witness these actions by the volunteers, and they are put on a witness stand in a court of law I hope and pray charges are brought against these volunteers. They volunteered to ingnore a request for help. Simple as that. I believe Drug Testing and Mental Health evaluations should be done on all these volunteers. Let’s open up Pandora’s Box!!!

  8. Two paid EMT’s respond in the ambulance to a serious accident. Due to the seriousness, and the initial reports of the police on the scene, additional volunteers respond. The patient, in very serious condition, was extricated from his vehicle, and while being transferred to the ambulance one of the EMT’s (also the same employee that filed discriminatory accusations against the volunteers) asked for a driver as he needed his partner in the rear compartment. In the absence of willing volunteers, a police officer drove. Did these actions make a difference in the outcome, probably not. Was this a complete disgrace to the fire service, and volunteers everywhere, YES! Has there been a DOCUMENTED reduction of service to the community by the volunteers not assisting on calls that this particular EMT is on, YES! Mayor Williams has known of this childish behavior, and after this incident, chose to report it. Now, Mayor Williams is just as responsible in the end, why?, he has the authority to work this out with the BFC, and has chose to take the “low road” and continue a smear campaign, instead of getting everyone to the table for resolution. Bottom line, now maybe the State will see the service to the residents of Berlin has and will continue to be compromised without outside intervention. The BFC volunteers will not participate when this EMT that filed charges is working.The “good ole boys club”, and “politics” don’t make good bed fellows.

  9. Why should charges be brought against anyone???? PATIENT CARE WAS GIVEN!!!! However the police officer who brought this issue to the mayor forgot to mention that BFC had to call Ocean Pines for another ambulance due to multiple patients. The BFC calls for assistants from other fire companies to help when they don’t have enough man power. My point is either the officer doesn’t have HER/His facts right or maybe they are unaware of how the fire service runs during a RESCUE call. There might have been a few BFC members who could of drove the ambulance however are busy with the rescue and treating other patients on the scene. The officer should have been more worried about HER/his job as traffic control then what off duty LT. Fisher was doing as he main goal was to lead a helping hand. Think for a min about this if this was you or your family member getting care by 2 BFC EMT’S I would be GREATFUL to have LT. Fisher able to drive as other member are busy caring for the others and taking care of the accident scene

  10. To the first comment… Maybe you should get a little better educated on the incident and the facts of what occurred. One should not throw stones at an officer that they know nothing about. The officer you are stressing about is familiar with how fire department operation work. You also should get a little more information about the incident. As in, the “rescue” part of the operation was over when said incident occurred. Education is key to making and INFORMED remark!

  11. Maybe instead of blaming the officer or officers you should look at your own selves . Never should you let any problems affect operations . If the patient was last one removed then no reason why someone couldn’t drive the ambulance to hospital. It is not the responsibility of the police to drive our stuff. We hate it when they block our hydrant or get a free meal so why do I want them driving my stuff . We all work together day in day out time to look in the mirror grow up and move on. And maybe instead of blaming the officers for the complaint maybe they should check with there own members to see who talked to mayor . The mayor needs to stay out of this.

  12. To the first post if you know so much and were there how come you didn’t drive the ambulance . If you were around to observe all this then obvious you had enough time to.drive to agh. As for people speaking up nice to know we have officers and some who are not to speak . As for the complaint maybe one should check with the.mayor and see who exactly made complaint to him . Think you may find out it wasn’t the police officer but a council member who happens to belong to Berlin fire company

  13. Why is the mayor involved? Is it because officers complained? Does it really matter the medic was the one who filed a complaint last year? Or are they just trying to say it stemmed from them making that complaint no one will help them…..Unless you were there how do you really know what happenned, Why would an EMT working on a critical pt stop and get out of the ambo and go around and ask all the volunteers for help…dont they have a radio to call command and say they need a driver???

  14. Guess the Mayor was hittin the bottle AGAIN when he contacted all the local papers to run this story. ALL BS. The single officer that filed a comp guess she is not affiliated with a fire company and has NO CLUE how an accident scene works or what happens on an ambulance O except what the EMS provider who filed the compl tells her. No one was just standing around they all had jobs and were doing them. Including the additional provider helping in the ambo and the ones that asked several times if the provider needed help all was denied. The truth will come out hopefully hte officer and provider dont lose their job for making false statements, that wouldnt be a big lose though.

  15. “Fisher was required to drive the ambulance transporting Mumpower, “while members of the Berlin Fire Company stood around watching.”

    They “stood around watching?”

    Now everyone knows this is an exaggeration and when you have to use an exaggeration when making a point all credibility is lost.
    Sounds like the ramblings of someone who may have been “hittin the bottle AGAIN” to me too, Misinformation.

  16. The only thing hurting the BFC worse than the Mayor right now, is a female police officer that has taken advantage of this for her personal gain. The State has arrived, and when the dust settles, the first to go will be the officer, 2nd the provider that is creating the “hostile” work place, not the BFC. Dispatch, why dont you interview her, huh? Get her on record, she wont do it. Then….. when the BFC offcers figure out her brother just wants another paid job. A mess.

  17. First I have the utmost respect for the Berlin fire company and its members of which many are my friend’s . But I’m here to tell you I don’t want or need another job so if you think that maybe your drinking from the same bottle you say the mayor is. I will defend my sister to the fullest and be the first to argue with her if i thought she did something wrong. As for some of the people on here who like to talk im sure there’s plenty of people around Berlin who has my phone number get it from one them give me a call most certainly will talk to ya.

  18. It is time we all wake up, stop watching honey boo boo and start thinking. First the town terminates a supervisor for work place misbehavior, then pulls $600,000 from BFC… And we the people think the mayor did it because he wanted to. This is where the thinking part comes in…he did not want to do that but had to do it to protect
    US the town

    We would be involved in all this if the Town continued to fund such wrong doing….Thank Gee for saving the town from such wrong doings. I am proud that the Mayor step up to the plate. It is easier for all of to judge with out knowing all the facts. Oh and the fine wives of the BFC that are sounding their voices, writing the statements to support their men. Do not come up to help with S!!!!

  19. Misinformation, I don’t know how I missed your uneductaed remark, but lucky for you, I finally saw it. As I stated earlier, I ONLY KNOW WHAT I AM READING, BUT I WILL TELL YOU THIS….. BEFORE you make a comment that is VERY uneductaed, RESEARCH YOUR FACTS, SO THAT YOU DON’T LOOK SO UNEDUCATED ON YOUR COMMENTS< AS YOU DO NOW!!!! IF you would like to recant your statement, I would understand…. But I will say this FOR A FACT!!!!! The Officer that you are bashing, ABSOLUTELY DOES KNOW HOW AN ACCIDENT SCENE WORKS, AND ABSOLUTELY KNOWS WHAT GOES ON IN AN AMBULANCE!!!! THAT IS FACT, and it is obvious that you are not an investigator, or for that matter a news reporter, since you DON’T KNOW HOW TO RESEARCH YOUR FALSE STATEMENTS!!! NOW, THE QUESTION IS, WHO IS MAKING FALSE STATEMENT???? In case you are not sure of the answer…. IT IS YOU!!!! GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT and STOP HIDING BEHIND A FALSE NAME!!!! I will tell you just like I told the other UNEDUCATED individual on here, YOUR OPINIONS NEED TO STAY OUT OF THIS!!!! SPEAK FACTS OR DON’T SPEAK AT ALL!!! That is what is wrong with our society…… people open their mouths where they dont know THE FACTS on a situation!!!

  20. Insiderberlin, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A PERSONAL ISSUE WITH THE OFFICER AND OR HER BROTHER!!! KEEP YOUR PERSONAL ISSUES OUT OF THE ACTUAL INCIDENT IN QUESTION!!!! I ONLY KNOW WHAT I AM READING AND YOU WISH TO BRING IN YOUR PERSONAL FEELINGS, THEN WHY NOT PUT YOUR REAL NAME ON HERE SO THAT EVERYONE KNOWS HOW YOU REALLY FEEL INSTEAD OF HIDING BEHIND A FALSE NAME!!! I do NOT need to defend the officer or her brother, since they are BOTH OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUALS, who can stand up for themselves, and are VERY respectable individuals. ARE YOU RESPECTABLE??????

  21. Ok, Mr. Whire, why all the Caps?, Can’t you not make a point the right way, or are you a 3rd grader? Many know that your assesment of the two people you defend is tainted at best. Mr. Jersheild reapplied to Ocean City but has “no interest in another job”, and his sister’s story will be cleared up by the State. The truth will come out, and the BFC sees thier true colors well ahead of time. This isnt personal, and feel free to contact me.

  22. Let’s start with THIS!!!! My name is Mr. WHITE!!!! Not, Whire. Now, as far as your comment about 3rd grade, that just shows the level of immaturity that you possess, that you have to TRY to insult people. NOW LET’S GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT!!!! MR. JERSCHEID HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS SITUATION, SO WHY HE IS EVEN BROUGHT INTO THIS IS BEYOND ME, EXCEPT POSSIBLY BECAUSE OF JEALOUSY!!! Are you jealous that you don’t have the drive and determination to be the best???? Are you jealous that you don’t have the work ethic that he does??? Did you apply for a job that he applied for and NOT get it, BECAUSE HE WAS THE BETTER PERSON? Why DON’T YOU KEEP YOUR COMMENTS THAT ARE NOT PERTAINING TO THE INCIDENT IN QUESTION, TO YOURSELF AND YOU GROUPIES!!! As far as what is going on, I am glad that there is some sort of investigation going on, (SINCE WHAT I AM READING IS REALLY A NO NO) A police officer SHOULD never be driving a FD vehicle!!!! As for as the Officer in question, I will say this, KNOWING THE INTEGRITY AND MORALS OF THE OFFICER, NOTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN SAID, UNLESS IT NEEDED TO BE SAID!!! With this in mind, When all the findings are made public, I hope you can be adult enough and/or professional enough to admit your uneducated and immature remarks did not pertain to this incident, and IN FACT WERE MORE PERSONAL and NOT ACCURATE!!!! I do NOT need to contact you, as ALL of my statements are COMPLETELY TRUE AND FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE!!! If you are smart enough to READ what I write, I am NOT passing judgement on the INCIDENT at hand, AS I ONLY KNOW WHAT THIS ARTICLE STATES…. But I am responding to IMMATURE allegations that are ACTUALLY PERSONAL ATTACKS that have NO place on this forum!!! Now, READ THIS CAREFULLY, OR HAVE SOMEONE READ IT TO YOU SO THAT YOU UNDERSTAND IT, SO WE HAVE NO MORE OF YOUR NONSENSE!!! THANK YOU, ROBERT WHITE!!!!

  23. This is my last time to talk on this forum i dont know why i even allowed my self to look at this stuff. First Mr Tyndal please feel free to call me anytime you want to discuss my life seeing you know so much about me. Im sure there are plenty of members in the fire company who have my number. As for reapplying to oc i did not i sent for a packet yes but had no intention to of applying thanks anyway. As for my reputation if you want to compare please again call me will compare anytime. Thanks i am done

  24. The volunteers have an issue with the paid paramedics and have decided to play games, instead of being professional and supporting the community. The town has every right to be involved, as they give the volunteers money to support their activities. The town should ask the volunteers to “open their books”, I bet they would be surprised where the majority of that money is spent. Denton Volunteer Fire company played the same games with the Caroline County paramedics. Caroline County officials ended up pulling their paid EMS providers from the Denton Fire House due to the games that the volunteers decided to play. It’s a shame, the innocent community is caught up in these games.

  25. To all who have posted on here…. There are two view points that have been expressed, one in favor of the BFD and ones agains them. I want you all to think about something for a minute. Do you really think members of the BFD put personal feelings before the care of a patent that needed help and care. Everyday volunteers across are country leave the safety of their homes to go and help others in need. They put their own lifes at risk for you, the public! I feel as if there was such a personal problem with someone who may have been working then no one would have showed up…. Now lets take the emotion out of this. The paper states that members stood around while this EMT asked for help. What did he ask for a driver, supplies, another provider for patent care, we don’t know we were not there. We do not know the facts. What we do KNOW is that members of BFD volunteer and paid personel responded to a call, rescue was made and pt care was provided if a qulified person was asked to drive to the hospital and was the first one avalible to do so then whats the issue? I’m pretty sure the people of Berlin are safe and if they call 911 and ask for help then help arrives all hours of the day in the form of people who care more about the safety of you, your family and your property then that of their own personal safety. I say we be thankful to have members of our community who are willing to do this for us and not bash them for things we do not know the facts or truth about.

  26. Stephen Mumpower, the deceased, was one of my best friends. It hurts to know that while it might not have saved his life (as he died on impact), he was treated with disrespect by a disgruntled ambulance driver, who should have been more worried about getting the boy who had just had a direct hit on his spine to a hospital.

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