Girlfriend, father recall victim in disputed incident Paramedics file complaint after death

kin might sue

October 07, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Janice Pulley remembers clearly the night her 28-year-old boyfriend, Sean E. Lucas, died of a heart attack in the confusion of a rescue attempt in his Annapolis apartment, and she remembers paramedics yelling at firefighters to move faster.

In their first in-depth interview yesterday, Pulley and Lucas' father, Maurice Lucas, talked about Sean Lucas' problem with drugs and about a chronic heart condition that had brought ambulances to his apartment seven times before July 14, the night he died.

They remember a jokester who overcame a hard life in Washington, settled down and began anew in Annapolis.

Two months after Lucas' death, Capt. Gene Kirchner, a white, 30-year veteran of the Annapolis Fire Department, has been cleared in a department investigation of charges that he blocked medical care that might have saved Lucas' life because Lucas was black.

The events at Spa Cove Apartments prompted two paramedics and two firefighters to file a complaint against Kirchner.

Pulley said she recalls a paramedic who was working on Lucas running out and yelling, " 'What's taking so long? What's taking so long?' Then he ran out the door and yelled at the firefighters walking up the steps, 'Y'all are taking too long. Y'all are taking too long. We need a stretcher.'

"I didn't know what was going on. I was just really nervous at the time," Pulley said.

A department investigation has cleared Kirchner of charges that he hindered the rescue efforts, but a federal civil rights investigation continues, and city sources say the captain faces disciplinary action for allegedly talking inappropriately and insensitively about Lucas after he died.

Lucas was buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, near Suitland in Prince George's County, five days after the controversial rescue attempt. Pulley said she didn't think about the rescue efforts again until she heard news reports that Kirchner was being investigated.

Lucas' father and the rest of the family heard the same way. They said no city official notified them.

Family members say it has been a shock.

For the past seven years, Lucas and Pulley said, Sean Lucas had straightened out his life. He was an assistant manager of a pizza parlor for a while and had overcome an addiction to drugs, working in the Genesis Program in Annapolis. Pulley met him in 1990 while working at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel, and they moved in together.

Serious health problems, including the heart condition, cardiomyopathy, that put him in and out of hospitals and led to his fatal attack, changed the way he lived.

"I can't help but think it might have been possible that my son didn't have to die," Lucas said, shaking his head slowly.

The family has hired Adrian J. Moody, a Philadelphia attorney, and is looking into suing the city and Kirchner.

Pub Date: 10/07/97

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