York Twp. fire lieutenant charged, removed from duty for crash dust-up
A York Township volunteer fire lieutenant accused of pushing a state trooper at the scene of an Interstate 83 crash is being criminally charged and has been relieved of his duties.
Michael T. Naylor, 49, of Park Avenue in Glen Rock, has not yet been arraigned on third-degree misdemeanor charges of obstructing emergency services and disorderly conduct, according to court records.
Those records indicate he is awaiting scheduling of a preliminary hearing, meaning he will be arraigned on charges immediately prior to the proceeding, which also is known as a probable-cause hearing.
Naylor could not be reached for comment on Thursday, Nov. 7, and it's unclear if he has retained an attorney.
He was a dedicated firefighter for York Township's Goodwill Fire Co. No. 1, company president Wendy Tracey said, but he admitted to shoving a state trooper.
"His intentions were good," she said. "Mike was very concerned about patient care, but in the end, the police weren't doing anything they shouldn't have been doing.
"Whenever you touch a law-enforcement officer, it's not right — no matter who started it," Tracey told The York Dispatch, adding that letting Naylor go "was a very hard decision."
The allegations: State police said troopers were sent to the scene of an alleged DUI crash on I-83 southbound near the Queen Street exit (Exit 16) about 7:50 p.m. Sept. 29.
Inside the crashed vehicle was a man in the driver's seat who police said was overdosing on opioids and needed to be given Narcan, police said, which reverses the effects of opioids. He was unconscious and his stomach was convulsing, police said.
There were two children in the vehicle as well, police said.
Trooper Mitchell Penrose broke a passenger-side window and started yelling at the driver to wake up, to little avail, documents indicate. Penrose then began cutting the deployed driver-side airbag to get to the driver while a second trooper waited to administer the Narcan, police said.
That's when Naylor and other York Township fire/rescue workers arrived.
Naylor told the troopers, "Guys, quit breaking glass until we figure out what's going on," and, "That's our job. You don't have to do that," documents allege.
Penrose told the firefighters he was trying to get the driver out of the vehicle and that fire crews could leave the scene, according to police.
When Naylor told troopers they should cover the man's face because of breaking glass, the troopers explained the man was high, prompting Naylor to reply he didn't care if the man was high or not, documents state.
'Go right ahead': Penrose ordered Naylor to leave the scene or he would be arrested, prompting Naylor to say, "Go right ahead" and "You better call your supervisor," charging documents allege.
Penrose started escorting Naylor from the crash scene, which is when Naylor allegedly turned around and pushed Penrose with both hands, police allege.
The trooper responded by taking Naylor to the ground and handcuffing him, according to charging documents.
Penrose later told investigators he initially thought the driver was dead, then saw the stomach convulsions, lack of pigment and open mouth, and believed the driver was overdosing and needed to be revived, documents state.
A second trooper at the scene, Trooper Aaron Patschke — the one who was holding the Narcan in preparation of reviving the driver — said he had to turn his attention to backing up Penrose when the physical altercation happened.
When Patschke returned to the vehicle, an ambulance worker had already moved in and was able to administer Narcan and revive the driver, police said.
A witness to the incident told troopers both children were able to get out of the vehicle themselves and that it appeared to him that troopers were trying to help the driver to the best of their ability, documents state
Rescue crews 'shocked': Tracey said other York Township fire/rescue personnel on scene were shocked by the encounter.
"We don't see our co-workers in handcuffs every day," she said. "I got there after the fact and everyone seemed to be shaking hands and OK. But it did become a media issue. ... Goodwill started our own investigation."
Naylor was placed on administrative leave Oct. 1, pending the outcome of the fire and police investigations, according to Tracey.
"On Oct. 30, when I heard charges were going to be filed, we relieved him of his duty," she said.
She said she was taken aback by the allegations in Naylor's charging documents and said she initially was told by a couple of people at the scene that Naylor was shoved first by Penrose.
At this point, neither Tracey nor state police are saying that Penrose shoved Naylor first.
Tracey said troopers had no duty to yield to fire or EMS personnel at the scene because a crime had occurred.
Valued volunteer: "He was a dedicated firefighter volunteer" with Goodwill No. 1 for about three years, according to Tracey.
"He'd often rearrange his schedule so he could ... man the station during short-staffing times," she said. "This never happened before with him."
Naylor is a retired paramedic, according to Tracey.
She said Goodwill Fire Co. No. 1 has "a very good relationship" with police.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.