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Man arrested after rushing wife to hospital; officer put on paid leave

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Man arrested after rushing wife to hospital
  • Man arrested after he rushed his wife to the hospital
  • Couple believed she was having a stroke
  • Police officer says man's driving endangered others

(CNN) -- The Chattanooga, Tennessee, police department has placed an officer on paid administrative leave after he arrested a man who was speeding and ran three red lights as he tried to rush his wife to a hospital, police said.

The couple believed she was having a stroke, they said.

But in his affidavit, the officer said that the man's speeding caused him and another vehicle to "slam on the brakes" to avoid collision.

Lt. Kim Noorbergen of the Chattanooga Police Department said Officer James Daves will remain on leave until an internal affairs investigation comes to a conclusion over Wednesday's incident involving newlyweds Eric "Jessie" Wright and his wife, Aline.

According to Wright, he and his wife were at their home on Wednesday night when she began showing possible signs of a stroke, with symptoms including numbness in her arms and a facial droop.

Wright said that his wife, who lost a leg to cancer, ran the risk of having a stroke because of the chemotherapy used to fight the cancer.

Wright -- a trained emergency medic -- said he took his wife's vital signs and decided to take her to the emergency room at nearby Erlanger Medical Center, where they both work. An ambulance would have taken an additional 20 to 30 minutes, he said.

Wright said after carrying his wife to their car, he called the medical center to report that they were on the way, and he drove with his emergency blinkers on, blew his horn and was "cautious" as he crossed the red lights.

Daves fell in behind Wright at an intersection, with his police car lights and siren on. Wright said he was too close to the hospital to stop, and upon arrival he immediately carried his wife to the emergency room because she did not have her prosthetic leg.

The police officer confronted him, Wright said, and told him that he was "going to send me to jail." Wright said Daves also referred to him with an obscenity.

Daves could not be reached for comment Monday. But in his affidavit, in addition to saying that Wright nearly caused a collision, Daves wrote that " (the) defendant stopped in the ER entrance and jumped out and ran. Police made contact with Defendant at the passenger side of his vehicle and I grabbed the defendant's arm and he pushed me away scraping my arm with his fingernail. Defendant yelled and said it was an emergency."

"Defendant pushed through the crowd and carried a female back into the emergency room and placed her in a room with no permission of the hospital staff," Daves writes.

He also said Wright's registration was expired.

Wright said at the hospital, Daves threatened to file felony charges against him. He said that after spending the night with his wife, he went to the jail to turn himself in. Jail personnel told him there were no warrants for his arrest, Wright said

But Friday morning, he was taken into custody by the hospital security officers and taken to the Hamilton County jail where he spent the day before he was released on a $7,500 bail, charged with seven felonies, Wright said.

Wright said he feels that Daves' actions at the emergency room endangered his wife's health "and that he (Daves) was trumping up charges to get back at me."

CNN affiliate WTVC reported that Aline Wright was out of the hospital by Friday morning and, while she had stroke-like symptoms, she was not diagnosed as having had a stroke.