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Ambulance Driver Charged with DWI Resigns, Officials Say

Volunteer rescue squad member operated ambulance while intoxicated during medical call, police report.

A Hackettstown First Aid & Rescue Squad member was arrested Wednesday night on a charge of driving an ambulance while intoxicated, Sgt. Darren Tynan said.

James Rigney, Jr., 39, subsequently resigned his post as Assistant Foreman early Tuesday morning, Rescue Squad Chief Kevin Ficcara said.

Patrols responded to a medical call on Vans Drive just after 9 p.m. and saw the ambulance drive past the location, Tynan said. A short time later, the officer saw the ambulance enter the complex the wrong way, Tynan said.

While responding to the scene, the officer smelled alcohol coming from Rigney, who was driving the ambulance, Tynan said. Rigney refused field sobriety test and was transported to police headquarters, Tynan said.

At headquarters, Rigney blew a .08 on the breath test, Tynan said.

The first responder sent Ficcara a text message late Wednesday night to say he would be handing in his equipment in the morning, Ficcara said.

Ficcara, a squad member for nearly 30 years, said nothing like this has ever happened with the group.

"We tell both our volunteers and paid staff not to do anything wrong when on the job," Ficcara said. "Don't run stop signs, red lights – don't do anything to break the law. And if you drink, don't even consider coming out."

The squad has six paid employees and more than a dozen volunteers. Rigney was a volunteer. In order for Rigney to respond to the call, he first needed to go to the squad building, as he was not stationed there.

Rigney was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated in a school zone and careless driving.

For questions about this post, email jason.koestenblatt@patch.com.

Revolution February 24, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Why was he drunk at 9pm to begin with
Lt.Dan February 24, 2013 at 02:25 AM
""The squad has six paid employees..." That would surprise me.
Mikka H February 24, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Bob your an idiot....lingo is all you got u of this....hillbilly.....and revolution is wondering why he was drunk at 9 pm....should he have waited till 10 pm? Maybe if he started at 9 AM he could have sobered up by the time the call came in...
KrisTee February 25, 2013 at 09:46 PM
So this person is 39 and has been a member of the squad for almost 30 years?? so he joined when he was about 9 ??? Is that possible? or is the article incorrect.
Soulless Ginger February 26, 2013 at 01:14 PM
@ KrisTee........no typo that was a quote. "Ficcara, a squad member for nearly 30 years, said nothing like this has ever happened with the group." Ficcara is the chief...

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