Ex-York Twp. fire lieutenant guilty of shoving state trooper

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Friday, Aug. 18, 2017--Goodwill Fire Station No. 1 in York Township. Bill Kalina photo

A former York Township volunteer fire lieutenant has admitted to pushing a state trooper at the scene of an Interstate 83 crash and must pay about $1,500 in fines and court costs.

Michael T. Naylor, 50, of Park Avenue in Glen Rock, appeared before District Judge Lindy Lane Sweeney the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 22, for his scheduled preliminary hearing.

Instead, first assistant district attorney Tim Barker and defense attorney David Hershey informed the judge that Naylor would be pleading guilty to his charges, the third-degree misdemeanors of obstructing emergency services and disorderly conduct.

Magisterial district judges are permitted to accept guilty pleas on summary offenses and third-degree misdemeanors. More serious charges must go before a common pleas judge.

Barker said probation wasn't necessary because Naylor has a low risk of committing future crimes — and "given the collateral consequences."

He was referring to the fact that York Township's Goodwill Fire Co. No. 1 let Naylor go after the dust-up.

"This definitely involved the losing of cool ... that crossed the line from heated to criminal," Barker said outside the courtroom. "Hopefully this is a learning lesson for all."

After accepting Naylor's guilty pleas, Sweeney fined him $500 for each count, plus $525.55 in court costs. She noted that $300 of those court costs is for Naylor's stay in the county's central booking unit.

Naylor, accompanied by two loved ones, declined comment after the hearing. Hershey, his attorney, also declined comment.

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'Dedicated': Naylor was a dedicated firefighter for Goodwill Fire Co. No. 1, company president Wendy Tracey has said, but he admitted to shoving a state trooper and therefore had to be removed from his duties.

"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."

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 was overdosing on opioids and needed Narcan, 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, but they were able to get out of the vehicle by themselves, police have 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.

The exchange: 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 state.

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.

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," according to charging documents.

Penrose started escorting Naylor from the crash scene, which is when Naylor turned around and pushed Penrose with both hands, police said.

The trooper responded by taking Naylor to the ground and handcuffing him.

Looked dead: 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, who police said recovered from the overdose.

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.

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, Tracey said of Naylor.

"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.

Sweeney, the district judge, told Naylor that she could have imposed fines of up to $2,000 on each count.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.