WALBRIDGE — Lake Township Fire Chief Todd Walters and two firefighters/paramedics have resigned amid a township police investigation into intravenous-fluid bags of saline being taken from a department fire hall to treat an intoxicated off-duty police officer.
Township trustees Melanie Bowen and Richard Welling announced the resignations during a special meeting Thursday after a closed-door meeting with Police Chief Mark Hummer, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Hornyak, and Tom Hayes, the township attorney.
Trustee Ron Sims didn’t attend the meeting.
Ms. Bowen, board chairman, said the departures of Chief Walters and the two firefighters — Richard Hallock and his wife, Michelle Hallock — stem from a “poor decision” the couple made after leaving the wedding reception of Trustee Sims’ son Saturday.
Chief Walters also attended township firefighter Steve Sims’ reception, which was held in the township. The groom’s brother, Scott Sims, who is a Lake Township police officer, was taken from the reception site and administered saline solution obtained from the Millbury Fire Hall, the trustees said.
“As a result they each determined to resign for the good of the fire department and our township,” Ms. Bowen read from a prepared statement. “The board is really saddened to take this action.”
Mr. Welling said: “No one set out to do wrong. They were going to a wedding reception. Things like this are hard because we all make bad decisions. You did the right thing here in immediately accepting accountability under our high standards and as role models in the community.”
According to the narrative given by the two trustees, Mr. Walters and the Hallocks became concerned about Sgt. Scott Sims’ condition during the wedding reception and decided that the Hallocks would drive him to his home outside the township.
At some point, the Hallocks took it upon themselves to “treat him and obtain two bags of saline solution” from the fire station and “administered” the saline to the off-duty officer.
“This is a violation of Lake Township regulations and standards of care. The fire chief was at the wedding reception and this happened on his watch,” Ms. Bowen said.
Mr. Hornyak was appointed acting fire chief, immediately assuming the duties of Mr. Walters. Mr. Walters had been the chief since 2009.
The trustees said Chief Hummer is reviewing whether Sergeant Sims violated department rules. They said the chief could not comment on the matter because of the officer’s collective bargaining contract.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.