Father speeds infant to doctor, is arrested Medical need fails to sway police

city firefighter taken away

July 09, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

When David R. Lemmon discovered yesterday morning that his infant daughter's temperature had skyrocketed to 104.7 overnight, his instinct was to rush her to the nearby pediatrician's office in Reisterstown.

Minutes later, Lemmon was being led from the office -- in $H handcuffs -- for failing to stop when a Baltimore County police officer tried to flag him down for allegedly speeding and running a stop sign.

"She was vomiting and choking on it, and all I was thinking was that I had to get her to the doctor," Lemmon, a 15-year city firefighter, said last night. "I was going to get her to the doctor, explain to the officer what happened and then he would see what was going on. At least, I thought that's what was going to happen."

Instead Lemmon, 40, was charged with two counts of fleeing and eluding police, one count of speeding and one count of resisting arrest after he failed to stop when an officer attempted to pull over his tan Jeep Cherokee on Glyndon Road.

The incident occurred as Lemmon drove 9-month-old Ashley and his 8-year-old son, Eric, to the doctor's office on Chartley Park Road, off Reisterstown Road.

According to a police report, Officer Daniel Pickard was on radar-enforcement duty at Glyndon Drive and Naso Road about 9: 55 a.m. when he spotted Lemmon driving west on Glyndon. Pickard tried to flag Lemmon down after clocking him at 50 mph in a 25-mph zone, police spokesman Bill Toohey said.

"The driver blew his horn, drove around the officer, waved his arm and continued along at a high rate of speed," Toohey said. "The officer got in his car and pursued him."

Police said Lemmon -- with Pickard following close behind in a marked police car with lights flashing and siren blaring -- drove through a stop sign before turning into the parking lot behind the doctor's office. Asked by police to produce his license and registration, Lemmon refused and ran with his children into the office.

"He did not -- and he should have -- pulled over when the officer pursued him with lights and sirens," Toohey said. "Had he needed medical attention for his child, he would have gotten it."

Lemmon, who lives on Boncrest Drive about three minutes from the doctor's office, admits he was driving fast. But he said that police only pursued him for a half-block and that he did not run any of the four stop signs along the way and was not traveling as fast as police said.

"I've driven emergency vehicles for 15 years, and I know how to drive without throwing my kids around," Lemmon said, adding that he was wearing his firefighter's uniform at the time. "I went slow enough so he could see my uniform and my sticker on the back so he would know I was an emergency professional."

Lemmon said he was escorted from the doctor's office to the parking lot, where he gave Pickard his license and registration. Then he returned to the doctor's office and was arrested.

Another officer stayed with the children at the doctor's office until relatives arrived.

Sandi Schultz, a Westminster resident who was visiting the office with her infant son, said police acted too harshly.

"I think the police should have at least talked to him about it and not arrested him," she said. "A few of the mothers in the waiting room and I were talking about it, and we all agreed that if we had been [Lemmon] we would have done the same thing for our child."

Last night, Lemmon and his wife, Tammy, nursed their daughter, diagnosed as having a virus, and reflected on the day's events.

"The main thing on his mind was taking care of the baby," said Mrs. Lemmon, a nurse who was at work during the incident. "I think it's ridiculous that they would arrest him for this."

Pub Date: 7/09/96

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