Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville fire captain says he regrets resigning after unauthorized use of ladder truck

BROOKSVILLE — Former Brooksville Fire Department Capt. Sam Schey says that even though he resigned after an incident involving his unauthorized use of a fire truck on April 6 to demonstrate the apparatus to a family member, he regrets doing so.

In an interview this week with the Times, Schey, 37, said an internal affairs investigation done by the Brooksville Police Department contained several factual errors and its conclusion painted an inaccurate picture of the events that occurred that day. The incident led not only to Schey's resignation but the firing of another department captain, Bill Kaplan, who was terminated for unacceptable conduct as a supervisor and inefficiency of performance of duties.

The internal affairs report regarding the incident said that, earlier in the day, Schey was visited at his home by two firefighters who had been asked to check on his well-being after reading Facebook messages they believed indicated he intended to harm himself. A few hours later, off-duty District Chief Stan Mettinger and another firefighter saw Schey inside the Brooksville Applebee's restaurant, where he had gone with relatives.

In his statement, Mettinger, who was the acting fire chief that day, said Schey was in an inebriated state and that he told Schey several times to stay away from the fire station. In addition, some witnesses who encountered Schey also said he appeared impaired or drunk and that he made an inappropriate advance toward a female firefighter while showing a cousin around the fire station.

However, Schey said he had not had anything to drink for several hours before meeting Mettinger and wasn't drunk when he and his cousin boarded the ladder truck and drove on city streets.

"I had a few beers the night before while I was working on my car all night," Schey said. "I didn't take a shower in the morning, so I must have stunk pretty bad."

Schey said that when he met Mettinger at Applebee's, he was drinking a Coke. He doesn't recall being told not to go to the fire station.

"People who know me know that I visit there a lot even when I'm not on shift," Schey said.

Schey, who said he suffers from bipolar disorder as well as Tourette's syndrome, said that he hadn't taken his prescribed medication because he had run out a few days earlier. Without it, he tends to appear edgy and "out of sorts," he said. He claims his encounter with the female firefighter was "just a hug" and wasn't intended to be sexually suggestive, as was indicated in the internal affairs report.

Schey said that while he regrets his decision to take his cousin for a ride in the ladder truck, it was something that he and other department employees had done on previous occasions, without question from superiors.

Employee records show that Schey, who earned $15.18 an hour, had only a minor previous infraction in 2008 for tardiness. Kaplan had no previous infractions on file.

Citing city policies regarding employee matters, neither Fire Chief Tim Mossgrove nor City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha would discuss the incident involving Kaplan and Schey. It is not known whether other employees were disciplined.

Schey said he has yet to decide whether to seek legal counsel. He resigned April 27 after he learned from a firefighter union representative that he likely would face termination over the incident. Meanwhile, Kaplan has filed a formal grievance with the city over his firing. The matter is before Norman-Vacha.

Regardless of the outcome, Schey said he still intends to pursue a career as a firefighter.

"It eats at me bad," he said of the incident. "But I've found out that some rules apply for some people, and some don't. I got caught up in something that I never saw coming."

Contact Logan Neill at lneill@ tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Brooksville fire captain says he regrets resigning after unauthorized use of ladder truck 07/03/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 3, 2014 12:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
JOHN PENDYGRAFT | TIMES]
  2. Tampa police investigating fatal shooting at Busch Boulevard motel

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police are investigating a shooting at a motel near Busch Gardens that left one woman dead.

  3. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 21: Tears of love and parting mark the beginning of the final leg of a pilgrim's journey.

    Travel

    Day 21: León to Hospital de Orbigo: 32.6 km, 8.75 hours. Total for Days 1-21 = 498 km (309 miles)

  4. Pinellas detectives investigating shooting that led to car crash

    Public Safety

    LARGO — Pinellas Sheriff's detectives are investigating a shooting that investigators said led to a man crashing his car after he was shot in the abdomen early Tuesday.

  5. Trump tweets, McCain return set stage for health bill vote (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump urged Republicans to "step up to the plate" for Tuesday's crucial Senate vote on their bill eviscerating much of the Obama health care law. The stage was set for high drama, with Sen. John McCain returning to the Capitol to cast his first vote since being diagnosed with brain …

    President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and others, speaks about healthcare, Monday, July 24, 2017, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. [Associated Press]