PITTSBURGH - A drunken off-duty city firefighter stole a casino security truck and led officers on a short chase, police said.
William White, a 16-year veteran, has been suspended without pay for 30 days and the chief has recommended he be fired for his "unbecoming conduct while he was off-duty," Assistant Fire Chief Francis Deleonibus said.
White, 50, appeared without an attorney and did not comment as he held his head in his hands during a video arraignment from the Allegheny County Jail yesterday. A district judge ordered him to remain behind bars until he is accepted by an alcohol-treatment center.
A Rivers Casino security guard saw White urinating in a parking lot about 2:15 a.m. yesterday, police said. White told the guard he was a firefighter and needed help getting home, authorities said.
The guard drove White to the casino's main entrance and offered to call a taxi, police said. Instead, White allegedly jumped out of the security truck and began arguing with a woman. When the guard got out of the truck to intervene, White jumped in and drove off, according to a police complaint.
An officer saw the truck driving the wrong way down a nearby road as the description of the stolen vehicle came over the police radio. The officer's cruiser was damaged in the chase, but nobody was hurt. White was arrested a few blocks from his house.
White faces a Jan. 7 preliminary hearing on theft, receiving stolen property, drunken driving and other charges. Police say a breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.226, nearly three times the state's legal limit.
The chief's recommendation that White be fired is nonbinding and must be heard by a trial board composed of three fellow firefighters, who could clear White or impose other discipline, Deleonibus said.
White has no criminal record save a drunken-driving arrest in 1995 in neighboring Butler County. That charge was dismissed when the state trooper who filed it failed to show up for trial.