This Week’s Wacky Wednesday: Mississippi Man Steals and Drives Fire Engine While Drunk
Many people wonder what it must be like to be behind the wheel of a fire engine. It has to be exciting to be up there with the siren blaring, tearing your way across town with your team to rescue people from a fire. A lot of hard work and effort goes into being able to drive a fire engine, and it is not something that everyone is cut out to do. It takes someone special. Or, it could also take one idiot who decides to get drunk, get stupid, and hop onto a fire engine for a joy ride. This is a story that rivals anything that comes out of Florida, and it seems like Mississippi Man is giving Florida Man some serious competition in weird cases.
Getting drunk happens. People often drink a little more than they should and they do things that are silly. They prank call a friend. They dance on a table. They do things that are essentially harmless. Then, there are the problematic drunks who get behind the wheels of a vehicle when they are drunk, making the roads hazardous for anyone who is on them. In this story, we can go one step further since the drunk in question, 20-year-old Tommy Lee Hill, stole a fire engine.
Hill is charged with burglary, as well as motor vehicle theft, driving without a license, and driving under the influence.
How Do You Steal a Fire Engine?
According to the authorities, it’s not easy, even though Hill made it seem simple enough. The fire chief said that starting up a fire engine is a process that has multiple steps and those steps are not known to many people. Hill either got very lucky or knew those steps to get the vehicle started.
After taking the truck, Hill caused a substantial amount of damage – tens of thousands of dollars’ worth – to the fire engine after he crashed into a utility pole. He crashed because he fell asleep behind the wheel and is very fortunate that he only caused property damage. It would have been easy for him to injure or kill a person on the road, or even off the road depending on the severity and location of the accident.
Not the First Fire Truck Stolen in Mississippi
You might think that it must be quite rare to have a fire truck stolen. You might even think that it might be the only time that it has happened in the state, but that’s not true. In 2017, a man named Nathan Stottler stole a fire truck while the fire crew was performing an inspection inside of a business. Stottler must have also gotten very lucky in going through the multistep startup process for the fire engine.
He took the truck and ended up crashing it, as well. In fact, he was talented enough to have taken the truck right into the Mississippi. He almost put the entire truck into the river. A woman named Sharon Ayers heard the crash and then went over to see the truck, and then Stottler appeared, walking out of the river. She said he looked troubled. She called 911 and when the police arrived, he hopped back into the river to try to elude the police. They hauled him out and took him to jail.
Even though the theft of fire engines is very rare, it does happen. You can find stories of it happening in other parts of the country, as well. It seems that even though there might be several steps to getting the trucks started, it might still be a little bit too easy.