"Upright men shall be astonished at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite. "- Job 17-8
Fire Starter recently reported regarding Joint Fire Administrator Stephen Hrustich's reckless driving and endangerment of his children. Hrustich responded to an non-emergency call with lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed while his children sat in the back seat of the Village of Johnson City vehicle. Along the way he nearly ran a Endwell Volunteer Fire Department vehicle off the road. He placed the lives of himself, his children and every other citizen at risk for no apparent reason.
As of this writing neither Mayor Hannon nor Mayor Bertoni has even investigated the allegation. Fortunately, other governmental officials are not so cavalier regarding public safety and the safety of children. Fire Starter has learned that Tioga County Child Protective Services (CPS) has opened an investigation into Hrustich's "wild ride". Apparently Hrustich and his wife have been questioned by CPS regarding his reckless behavior. Separate interviews were conducted with the children. Determination of charges or other action is pending.
This incident may seem like a minor lapse in judgement on Hrustich's part. Despite the fact that he placed his children in danger, one could easily chalk this up to an innocent mistake. Only Fire Starter has learned that this was not an isolated incident.
Apparently earlier this year, Hrustich had his children in his vehicle when he heard a Tioga County fire call come in. Noting that the address of the call was near his Tioga County home, he drove at a high rate of speed with lights and sirens to his home to verify that all was well. Again, his children were placed at risk.
The Fire Starter can understand the impulse to rush to ones home to verify that all is well, but the use of lights and sirens and the high rate of speed was not only a danger to his children but an abuse of his position. Hrustich abused his position as Joint Fire Administrator to satisfy his personal concerns about his home. And again, he endangered his children.
For a Chief who seems to insist on every rule being followed to the enth degree, he seems to think rules do not apply to him. In addition to whatever may come of the CPS investigation of this other event, criminal and Vehicle and Traffic charges could be levied. It is clearly an improper use of emergency lights and sirens to respond to a personal matter. Fire Starter can only imagine Hrustich's reaction if one of his "men" pulled a stunt like this. But as we have observed, the rules do not apply to Hrustich.
It's time for the elected officials in Johnson City and Endicott to reign in Hrustich and explain that the rules indeed apply to him and every other citizen. Fire Starter has grievous doubts whether the corrupt mayors of these two communities will take any action. Bu as citizens we must demand that Hrustich be held accountable. We will be the ones paying for the lawsuits when his luck runs out...we have to cover his tab.