Driver charged after Loudoun deputy stops joyriding firetruck

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 5, 2011; 9:49 PM

The age-old question that police ask when a motorist seems to be in a hurry is: "Where's the fire?" When a Loudoun County sheriff's deputy learned Saturday that there wasn't any fire, he made a traffic stop - of a firetruck.

The vehicle, described as a spare belonging to the volunteer fire department in the Loudoun town of Hamilton, had apparently been taken on a joyride, said Investigator Vincent DiBenedetto, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

Sean Swanson, 27, believed to be a volunteer firefighter, was charged with driving under the influence and unauthorized use of a vehicle, DiBenedetto said.

It happened about 2 a.m. in the Hamilton area, when the deputy spotted the weaving truck on Route 704 between Hamilton and Leesburg, DiBenedetto said. Radar indicated that the driver was going at least 10 mph above the 50 mph speed limit, he said.

After checking for fire calls, the deputy turned his car around and stopped the truck. Passengers were riding along with the driver, but none of them was charged, DiBenedetto said.

Officials of the Hamilton department could not be reached immediately. DiBenedetto said the 1989 truck was not the one kept at the ready at the firehouse to answer alarms.

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