Judge rules rescue worker was 'firefighter'

October 15, 2009 4:30:50 AM PDT
A Superior Court judge has ruled that a Delaware City ambulance driver killed while tending to an injured man on a median was a "firefighter" under state law.

Judge Jerome Herlihy made the ruling Wednesday in the bench trial of 29-year-old Joseph Taye, who is charged in the death of Michelle Smith in December 2008. Under state law, a person who kills a firefighter on duty can be charged with murder.

But Herlihy says his ruling is preliminary and is not his final ruling on the facts.

Taye's attorney conceded that his client was driving the car that hit Smith and that his client's actions were "less than careful" that night. But he had argued that state law doesn't define firefighter and Smith was acting as an ambulance driver.

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Information from: The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, http://www.delawareonline.com


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