• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

LB Fire captain arrested for Seal Beach hit-and-run

April 8, 2011 12:45:24 AM PDT
A Long Beach Fire Department captain is facing charges of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Seal Beach police said two witnesses followed 38-year-old off-duty Long Beach Fire Cpt. John Hines to his Huntington Beach home Friday afternoon.

Hines allegedly failed to stop after ramming his truck into a cyclist in the bicycle lane at Westminster Boulevard in Seal Beach near Bolsa Chica Street.

The 48-year-old cyclist from Garden Grove was seriously injured. Police said the victim suffered a major gash to his head, and has been released from the hospital.

Police arrested Hines at his home and booked him for suspicion of felony hit and run and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hines is free on bail. No one answered the door at his home Friday, but Seal Beach police were parked across the street.

"He should be watching what he does," said neighbor Aaron Hornaman. "Don't need to be drinking and driving. What kind of example is that to set for our youth today?"

Witnesses told police the alleged hit and run driver was going the speed limit when he swerved out of his lane and slammed into the bicyclist. It sent the victim flying through the air and crash landing into the dirt on the side of the road.

People are shocked and saddened a fire captain is accused of being involved in something like this.

"This is devastating," said Patreece Coburn from Huntington Beach. "I'm married to a L.A. County Sheriff's deputy, retired, and my son wants to be a fireman so this is terrible."

"It kind of disillusions you when you hear something like this," said Downey resident Jim Rossi. "Somebody that's normally saving lives almost takes someone's life. It kind of takes the glamour and pedestal you put them on. Kind of knocks it down a little bit."

Long Beach Fire Department Headquarters officials said that what happened was a personnel issue, and did not give a further comment.