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Pa. Fire Chief Allegedly Arrives Intoxicated at EMS Call

PITTSBURGH -- A Washington County volunteer fire chief resigned after police arrested him for drunken driving in the line of duty.

Donald Hindman Jr., 49, of Canonsburg, had a blood alcohol content of .253, more than triple the legal limit after he responded to a domestic dispute in Cecil early Sunday morning, and he tried to leave the scene. Cecil police Chief John Pushak said it's common for medics to ask fire companies for assistance.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Hindman Jr., who had been chief of Lawrence Fire Department No. 1, one of three companies serving Cecil and the surrounding area. No one answered the door at the address listed for him on a criminal complaint, and no one returned messages left at a phone number listed for him at another address.

Donald Gennuso, Cecil Township manager, said he found out about Hindman's resignation from his brother, Randy Hindman, who indicated he likely would take over the position pending a department vote. Randy Hindman is the department's assistant chief.

Gennuso declined to comment further. Randy Hindman could not be reached for comment

According to police, Donald Hindman Jr. responded to a call for assistance from Southbridge Medics, who were on the scene of a domestic disturbance about 3:45 a.m. Sunday that left a woman with a piece of glass in her head.

Hindman attempted to assist medics, but "his behavior was erratic and potentially hazardous to the patient. ... His speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, he was unsteady on his feet, and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage," according to an affidavit.

Police advised Hindman to wait outside the home, but he eventually got into his truck, drove toward a dead end, turned around and returned to the scene. Police then stopped him, and he failed a field sobriety test.
Pushak said the 2002 Chevrolet Silverado that Hindman drove is registered to the fire department.

Police filed the drunken driving charge on Monday in Magisterial District Judge Valarie Costanzo's office. Hindman also was charged with drunken driving in a separate incident Jan. 28. He was driving the same truck, but a criminal complaint gave no indication he was working at the time.

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