When a newlywed cancer survivor with a heart condition started showing stroke symptoms, her husband knew he needed to get her to the hospital immediately. Now, the new groom faces a felony charge from an encounter with a police officer he says delayed his wife's access to treatment.
Just married last week, Eric and Aline Wright of Chattanooga, Tenn., both medical professionals at Erlanger Medical Center, were enjoying what was supposed to be their honeymoon when Aline's speech became slurred and her face began to droop on Wednesday. During the ride to the hospital, Eric says he paused at two red lights but ran them both. After passing through the second red light, a police cruiser pulled behind the couple's vehicle, following it with lights and sirens on to the hospital.
Eric, a trained medic who served two tours in Iraq, said he knew getting Aline to medical care as quickly as possible was critical and at first felt glad when the officer pulled in behind them.
Eric said he reasoned that instead of pulling over and wasting time explaining the medical emergency in a potentially life-or-death situation, he could have that conversation with the officer at the hospital. "As long as my wife gets into the hospital and gets taken care of then we can talk about things like red lights," he told AOL News.
But, according to Eric's account, Chattanooga Officer Jim Daves blocked Eric, who was carrying Aline, a left-leg amputee, from immediately entering the hospital.
"I remember having to stop. I was trying to explain the situation, but he didn't really stop to listen. He never asked what her condition was," said Eric. "I remember having to step around him to get into the emergency room."
Eric said after he entered the hospital, the officer tried to come into the area where Aline was being treated, interrupting her care.
"At that point it was crucial I be present," Eric told AOL News, saying his wife was unable at the time to accurately relay the advancement of her symptoms and her medical history.