Are we really proud of the George Daw precedent?
The New York state bus driver was fired Monday because he “endangered welfare of students he was transporting when he picked up three unauthorized passengers,” according to the Educational Bus Company on Long Island. But as transgressive as that statement makes Daw’s actions sound, what in fact happened was what would commonly be described as either an act of heroism or at the least a Good Samaritan in action. What Daw did was rescue three police officers who were stranded in a hailstorm on Aug. 1.
“I felt this was something anyone would do under the circumstances,” said Daw, 58, according to an NBC News report. The incident took place in New Hyde Park, just south of the Long Island Expressway. The passengers in Daw’s bus included a teenager and a bus matron. As he passed through the park, Daw noticed the unmarked police car flooding, with three passengers inside.
“They’re saying, ‘You’ve got to help us, you’ve got to help us,’ ” Daw told NBC. ” ‘You’ve got to get us to the third precinct. We’re police officers.’ “
So he took their cue, and brought the officers to their precinct. By the time he returned to his headquarters in Copiague, located in Long Island’s Nassau County, he was given his dismissal notice.
Laws protecting Good Samaritans can come in a variety of forms. New York state passed a version in July that prohibited arresting someone on a drug possession charge if that person was contacting police tohelp an overdose victim. Most commonly, the laws protect bystanders who come to the aid of an emergency but run the risk of contributing to injuries or a wrongful death. Indeed, New York is one state that has such aprotective statute for licensed dentists, physicians, nurses, physicians and physical therapists.
But in a case like Daw’s, the decision ultimately rests with his employer. New York state does have established wrongful termination laws, and Daw says that he is hoping to be reinstated. But he also says that he holds out little hope. When approached for comment about the incident by CBS News, Educational Bus had no comment.
- Long Island Bus Driver Fired After Rescuing 3 Police Detectives During Hail Storm (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- One dead, 24 hurt in fiery bus crash in NY (msnbc.msn.com)