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Paramedic in the Clear Following Misuse of Lights Claim

A paramedic was cleared yesterday of misusing his blue flashing lights to tell a woman off about her bad driving.

Uniformed ambulanceman Shaun Foster, 38, was accused of being a "vigilante" by stopping a driver who allegedly cut him off on a busy road.

But the Health Professions Council (HPC) panel found Foster not guilty of misconduct for wrongful use of the emergency signals.

The paramedic was accused of misusing the lights after stopping a woman driver on his way to work for the Welsh Ambulance Trust in Wrexham. Motorist Jennifer Singleton pulled over because she thought it was an ambulance service vehicle trying to get to a 999 call.

The hearing was told Mr Foster admitted using the lights but said it was to prevent a possible accident.

Kate Stone, defending Mr Foster, said: "He says he stopped her out of concern for her safety and the safety of other road users.

"It was a spontaneous reaction to an incident, a spur-of-the-moment decision in order to prevent an accident."

The HPC hearing was told Mrs Singleton was shocked when Mr Foster jumped out of his vehicle and told her off about her driving.

He told her: "Did you not see me? You made me go up on the verge - you nearly killed me."

Presenting officer Laura Ryan told the hearing how Mrs Singleton was driving along a dual carriageway when she noticed the white car with a blue stripe with blue lights flashing on the dashboard.

Miss Ryan said: "She saw the lights and the driver motioned for her to pull over.

"She believed he was on his way to an emergency because of the way he was coming up behind her. She pulled up to the kerb. When he got out of the car, he asked her where she was going and told her to drive more carefully."

Mrs Singleton, a nurse, recognised Mr Foster from his jobs as a paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Trust.

Later that day she issued a formal complaint about his behaviour.

The hearing was told Mr Foster was driving to work at his ambulance station in Wrexham on Christmas Day in 2010 when he decided to use the blue flashing lights on his own private car.

Miss Ryan said the lights were fitted to the dashboard of his own car because he had also worked as a private ambulance driver.

Mrs Singleton, 35, had told the hearing: "I was shocked. It was vigilante action - it was not right for him to stop a member of the public on the road."

Mrs Singleton, who works at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, later gave a statement to police and Mr Foster also reported her for dangerous driving. But no action was taken.

The hearing was told the only time a paramedic should use flashing lights are at an emergency, responding to an emergency, to let people know they are near, or at a hazard.



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