Firefighter back at work after allegedly maiming woman in drunk driving crash
BATON ROUGE - A Baton Rouge firefighter who is accused of driving drunk and seriously injuring a woman he crashed into is back at work, but not in a capacity where he's interacting with the public.
Christopher Reese allegedly drove his truck 94 miles per hour on Government Street with a flashing red light attached inside his vehicle when he smashed into another car at Richland Drive. Reese was nearly three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit, according to booking records at the time of the crash.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department said it has no policies on mandating firefighters have a light bar in their personal vehicles. Sources have told WBRZ that Reese was not driving to a fire when he crashed.
Reese was initially placed on leave until April 2019, that's when he was brought back on special assignment dealing with supply of uniforms. In December he was moved to the communications office, where he's answering phones and inputting data into computers. Reese has not missed a day's worth of pay since the crash, according to the fire department.
The victim Reese allegedly crashed into had to have her leg amputated.
Dawn Brown knows the pain a drunk driver can cause. She lost her mother and her baby that she carried full term in a split second when a drunk driver crashed into her car in 1999.
Brown said she was in a coma for 17 days. When she finally woke up, she had learned the terrible news. Her baby that she had been carrying for nine months did not survive and her mother had also been killed in the crash.
"Her name was Laura," Brown said as she fought back tears describing her baby. "This was stolen from me. I'll never get this back."
Brown said there is not a day that goes by where she doesn't think about her mom and her baby. She is flabbergasted that Reese would be allowed back to work after being accused of such a violent crash.
She said she is standing up for other victims and pushing for justice to be carried out. She wants the same justice to be served as if someone had maimed the firefighter.
"They are going to take care of their own," Brown said. "If the roles were reversed, you don't think the Baton Rouge Fire Department and all of his friends would be upset?"
Reese's defense lawyer declined to comment for this story but said he hopes the case will be resolved soon.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department said Reese has not driven a firetruck since the crash and a decision on any discipline or his employment will be made after there is finality in his case.