Poplarville fire chief talks about his arrest - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Poplarville fire chief talks about his arrest

Chief Mike White gets escorted away in Poplarville. Chief Mike White gets escorted away in Poplarville.

The Poplarville Fire Chief, arrested Sunday for disorderly conduct, is speaking out about the incident.

Chief Mike White said the issue that led to his arrest stemmed from an altercation with a Pearl River County Sheriff's Deputy over a public safety issue.

Members of the Poplarville Board of Aldermen were filled in on the details of the incident Tuesday evening in executive session.

Amateur video shows the accident scene on Old Wiggins Highway just outside of the Poplarville City limits. The video also captures the altercation between Chief Mike White and Sheriff's Deputy Joe Garcia.

"I noticed the vehicle was on its roof of course and there were fluids on the ground. I had overheard someone say they were going to use a privately owned vehicle to and a winch to flip the vehicle over. There was noticeable the smell of gas and there were approximately 10 to 15 by standers. I voiced my opinion that it would be unsafe to flip the car in that manner with everybody around. Disagreement occurred at that point," said Poplarville Fire Chief Mike White.

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison said Garcia told him, Chief White stood between the overturned car and the winch and refused to let the car be up-righted. The Chief said a qualified tow truck driver should be called to do the job.

"There were still hazards on the ground that the car hadn't been flipped up or moved out of the roadway. I had still deemed it a safety hazard and a fire hazard so at that point, yes I would have considered that accident my scene," said Chief White.  

The video shows Garcia wrapping his arms around the chief and physically moving him out of the way.

Sheriff Allison said his deputy didn't feel there were any public safety concerns and that his deputy was in-charge of the accident scene and not the fire chief.

"We wouldn't report to a fire scene and tell them how to put out a fire," said Allison.

"It's my hope and intention that all parties involved can sit down and come to some sort of procedure as to how we would proceed in this in the future what point the incident is turned over to the Sheriff's Department from the fire department," said Chief White.

White said although he was arrested, he'd do it all over again. He said public safety is his main priority.

Chief White would like to see the disorderly conduct charge against him dropped and his record cleared.

He has hired an attorney to help him accomplish that.

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen took no action on the matter. The Chief just informed them of the happenings.

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