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Man Arrested for Allegedly Stealing, Crashing Bristol Fire Truck

A Pennsylvania man was arrested following a Bristol Special Hazards fire truck crash.

Bristol Police have charged one man in relation to the that occurred early on Saturday morning.

Clayton Hardon, of Devon, Penn. was arrested after he allegedly stole a Bristol Fire Department Special Hazards truck. Police say Hardon allegedly crashed the truck at the intersection of Woodlawn and Anthony Avenues where it then rolled over onto it's roof.

Hardon is being charged with driving under the influence, refusing a chemical test, larceny of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, and other motor vehicle violations. Police say that Hardon is being treated at Rhode Island Hospital for injuries sustained from the crash and he will be arraigned at the Bristol Police Department Headquarters upon his release.

Jim Riding July 17, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Story going around town is that the person who "stole" the firetruck is in actuality a member of the fire department. And a recent RWU grad. Why are we not told this information? Seems to be pretty significant details that have been omitted. What are the reasons? Who is being protected? Why the secrets? Do we not want to give RWU a blackeye? Or the fire chief? I'll bet to replace the truck will cost us taxpayers PLENTY. I want answers.
David July 17, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Hey Jim. Why don't you chill out? If that was the case, this person did indeed steal the truck as he would not have been authorized to operate it at this time of night and under his condition. Bottom line is that your trying to give the Bristol Fire Department a black eye for a crime that was committed, not a joy ride that was sanctioned by the department. Let the case take it's route and leave the rest of the good standing members alone.
Al July 17, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Jim, you've been watching way too many conspiracy theory movies. Whether or not the person who was driving the truck is a member of the fire department or a RWU grad is irrelevant. The fact is that if the truck was taken at that time of night without permission, it is stolen. Bristol is a small town and a lot of rumors circulate that have no truth behind them and the actuality of a situation is blown way out of proportion. It seems like you are caught up in one of those rumors and don't know or have all of the facts in the case. The police will handle the situation and the driver will get his punishment in a court of law. I for one appreciate everything that the Bristol VOLUNTEER Fire Department does for the town. If the department was paid, trust me, that would cost us tax payers plenty.
Kevin Medeiros July 17, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Jim, settle down. Take a deep breath. With today’s social media, such as twitter and facebook, information travels rapidly. Couple the fact that information moves across all medias at lightning speed, with the fact that our culture is evolving into a, “drama is better for entertainment” environment. T.V shows are revolving around juicy drama in all facets of life. When you throw both those scenarios together, with a big story like the theft of fire apparatus - it makes for a “great story.” Let me ask you, Jim. When you were growing up, did you ever play the game, “Telephone” in school? Well, if not: It’s a game where a child is told a story by the teacher. The child then whispers the story to the next person next to them. This continues until the last child is whispered the story, then that child tells the teacher the story. In almost all cases, the stories are very different as they were passed along one to another.
Kevin Medeiros July 17, 2011 at 11:26 PM
In reality, Social Media is a grownups version of Telephone. Where am I going with this, you may ask? Media outlets, whether it be Patch, Fox, Warren Times, Providence Journal, are not in the business to print hearsay. The media needs hard facts to print in a particular story. If the fire department and police are being tight lipped during the investigation, there is nothing the media can do about it, except pass information to us as they get it themselves. Just because you see something on face book, or hear something from a friend - it doesn’t mean it’s true. New Facebook Status Update: I just spotted BigFoot in my back yard a few minutes ago! It’s in social media, it must be true.
Jim Riding July 18, 2011 at 01:20 AM
I don't believe I said anything negative about the fire department. Please re-read my post. I simply want to know why it is not mentioned that he was a member of the fire department. I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories either--- and I also don't belong to Facebook. The point I am trying to make is that this individual committed a crime- the article makes it sound like he broke into a fire station and stole it. He had access to it. Nobody yet has answered my questions---- why is it not being told that he is a member of the fire department?
Kevin Medeiros July 18, 2011 at 02:17 AM
Read my post, I made it very clear. Media outlets will not post any information on any story unless they have facts. In this case, the facts would come from either the Fire Department or the Police Deprtment. Unless they decide to release the information, you wont get it. It's not Patch's fault. If you would like answers, contact the police department. You wont see it printed until they release a statement. When that happens, all sorts of Media outlets will be more than happy to pass along all the details you're looking for. It's thats simple.
Jim Riding July 18, 2011 at 03:09 AM
So the media should sit and wait for a written statement? I always thought the job of the media was to investigate, ask questions.
Ray Andrews July 18, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Jim Riding is correct, the article (the same one on all of the media outlets) make it sound as if some drunk from Pennsylvania decided to steal a truck and crash it. You would think that the local police would have been told by the fire company that he had been a member, and that information would make it into the report somehow Clayton Hardon's own LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/clayton-hardon/32/a3/1b
Ray Andrews July 18, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Short, poorly lit, video after the accident http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/wpri-bristol-suspicious-fire-truck-crash-in-bristol
Sunshine July 18, 2011 at 06:39 PM
http://www.eastbayri.com/detail/144770.html According to the Times, he was a member, and MAY have actually been working that night.. (under the influence) I think it totally changes the story. The guy didn't steal anything if he was in fact a member and was working... someone wants to cover something up. perhaps no one wants to admit, a volunteer on duty was under the influence.
Ray Andrews July 18, 2011 at 07:05 PM
"Fire Chief Robert Martin would not comment on whether Mr. Hardon was working in the Dreadnaught Fire Station, on the corner of Church and High streets, on the night of Friday, July 15 into the early morning of Saturday, July 16, when Mr. Hardon allegedly stole a special hazards truck stored inside the Dreadnaught station." I'm pretty sure that if he hadn't been on duty, the chief would make that point perfectly clear instead of - "would not comment" On top of attending RWU for the past four years, he ... "... has been a member of the Dreadnaught Fire Company in Bristol since 2008 and a dispatcher for the Harbor Patrol for the past three years." But, "Police would not comment on whether he has had an address in Bristol" WHAT ???
jesus July 18, 2011 at 07:19 PM
well, looks like ray and jim just made all of you look stupid. regardless, we shouldnt let one mans actions serve as a reason to judge the fire department. although i would think they would be happy enough with the big new station on top of annawamscut that they wouldnt need to joy ride through town. whatever, the police around here do it all the time, they just dont crash
Bristol Resident July 18, 2011 at 07:44 PM
This guy is totally a member of the fire dept. As well as the Harbor Patrol. As far as being on duty I have no idea. I would not read too much into this if I were a member of the Fire dept. I have lived in town 20 plus years and have never heard of anything even close to this going on at the BFD. Let all just take this for what it is. A stupid guy making a stupid choice. I all reality it could have been far far worse. At least no one else got hurt. That is what we should all be thankful of. I know I am.
OtherSide July 18, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Actually Jesus, Ray and Jim are the ones that look stupid. Yes he was a member of the department and I did hear harbor patrol as well. However, VOLUNTEERS ARE NOT ON DUTY FOR THE FIRE APPARATUS. The Rescue Squad is the only truck that is staffed by volunteers day and night. The fire companies do not have "duty crews" as Jim and Ray ASSume. Access or not he was not permitted to just take the truck for a drunken joy ride. Fire company members need permission from a company officer to take the truck out of the station for anything other than a fire/rescue run. Thank you Bristol Resident for your comment making sense out of jib jab.
Ray Andrews July 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM
To put it politely - I don't think you've quite got it right. I haven't made any assumptions or assertions as to whether or not the person was on duty, or had permission, or access to the vehicle. What I've commented on is the lack of acknowledgement, or even simple observation, that he was not just 'a man from Pennsylvania' as originally reported. Even the eventual delayed acknowledgement of the fact that he was a fire department member is still qualified by officials with a - "would not comment". The comments by Jim Ridding have been in a similar vein. You seem to be stuck up on the fact that 'Volunteers are not on duty for the apparatus', and 'they need permission'. We're talking about a guy who had a few drinks in him and wasn't necessarily worried about the rules or asking permission. It appears to be a simple case of a young guy who just did something stupid. People sometimes do stupid things, luckily nobody got hurt (other than the truck) and there's no need to make a big federal case out of it. What's much more alarming is that the fire chief and police have been far from forthcoming, with facts that were obvious, pertinent, and relevant to the original incident.
Jim Riding July 20, 2011 at 03:03 AM
I have to echo the sentiment of Ray. I never once said one negative thing about the men and women of the fire department. A few people tried to twist my words and accused me of giving the fire department a black eye. Well, the only person that gave the fire department a black eye was the man that got arrested. My problem was and still is the omission of pertinent information regarding the "accident" In all likelihood this man will not serve a day in jail, will not make restitution and will move back home. The taxpayers of Bristol will be left to foot the bill for this mans' mistakes- I've seen the truck- it's totaled. It was at the public works in plain view for a few days- don't know if it's still there. Please don't imply that I'm not appreciative of the fire department... nothing could be further from the truth.
Tony Avila July 20, 2011 at 08:52 PM
We have a great Fire Department and they do NOT need bad PR. One individuals actions have nothing to do with the rest. Its time now for the facts to be brought foward. The longer you wait the more suspicious everyone gets and we do not need assumptions.
Ray Andrews August 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM
So what has happened with this ? Did anybody ever figure out if he was on duty that night ? Any updates ?
Chris Christensen September 27, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Kevin that is an outright lie. You did not see Bigfoot in your backyard Sunday or any other day. Bigfoot lives in Corpus Christi, TX. I do have some old friends in Bristol though.
Ray Andrews February 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Over half a year since I last asked ... Was he on duty, was anyone held responsible, who wound up paying for the damages & truck ?
Jim Riding February 13, 2012 at 04:43 PM
It has been awful silent as far as this goes-thanks for bringing this up. Word on the "street" is that the person in question retained a very high priced lawyer who claimed that even though the suspects DNA was found inside the cab it cannot be proven that he was in fact driving the truck. He claims that his client was a passenger and cannot remember who was driving. There were no eyewitness' that saw him driving the truck as well. Looks like he's getting away with it after all. Furthermore I hear that the truck was not insured for replacement cost- it was valued at a fraction of the original cost. So it appears that the taxpayers will be footing the bill (hundreds of thousands) to purchase a new truck when the time comes. I'd like to hear what the Bristol Police have to say about this- I would like to get to the bottom of this.
Ray Andrews February 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM
So has the fire department ever indicated whether or not this person was on duty at the time, or who else was on duty at the time, or who else at the station would have noticed a fire engine leaving the station ?
Jim Riding February 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM
First off we have a great fire dept-no question. There really is no "on duty" or "off duty" for the volunteers- they're pretty much on call whenever they're available to respond to an emergency. I don't believe that fire trucks have keys- can't take a chance of losing them I suppose. It's a shame that this person made bad choices that resulted in this-it's also a shame that the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for his stupidity. I really think the fire chief, police chief or the town administrator owes us an explanation.
Jack Baillargeron February 14, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Surprisingly the Due Is still pending in our court system as well as the three fenony charges also. Don't see what kind of an explaination they can give Jim, as nothing has been done legal wise yet, which they have no control over. As for the act itself, there are allways bad pples everywhere an o way to prevent a guy like this from doing what he did, as you mentioned there are no keys, and if there are, he would have had access in anycase. Im just glad the only one hurt was him. here i current felony case. Case ID: 62-2011-09759 Docket Search Start Date: Docket Search Ending Date: Case Description Case ID: 62-2011-09759 - CLAYTON HARDON Court : (DC) District Court Location : (6D) 6th District Court Filing Date: Saturday , July 16th, 2011 Type: F - FELONY Status: none Balance Due: $0.00
Ray Andrews February 14, 2012 at 12:26 AM
It would seem that having a minimum of two people in the station at all times would be a good way to prevent somebody from doing something like this. A simple and inexpensive security camera system would probably help as well, it might have been able to capture what was actually happening at the time the truck was taken.
Jack Baillargeron February 14, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I believe ray the the station has a few people there at all times, whether that was the case I do not know. Also do not remember exactly how this theft transpired that night.
DownTown February 14, 2012 at 02:39 AM
His family hired Harwood which is why this is still in District court. unresolved. He has four charges, DUI 1st offense a misdemeanor, Larceny over $500 a felony, Reckless driving also a felony & property damage at the scene of the accident, again a felony. Harwood will keep delaying till he gets him before a judge/friend that owes him a favor and he'll plea it down to a single charge so it can be wiped out at a later date. There will be probation with restitution but when the probation runs out the restitution order will be left to wilt on the tree. It should be changed to a civil case but RI Courts are too screwed up to handle that. Unless the Bristol PD wants blood on this that's the way it'll play out. If his parents can afford Harwood then they can pay for the truck to be replaced. It looks like his Father is a Doctor from a bit of searching I did. Frankly from the towns point of view, aside from this person being barred from the Fire Department getting the truck paid for is the most important thing. If they've already made an insurance claim against Hardons auto insurer maybe that's been satisfied. I'd think a station that large has several rooms with beds so volunteers who want to stay there can. Most larger Fire stations I've been in have beds all over the place Isn't it great to have RWU in town? They just keep giving and giving.

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