Louisiana Firefighter Facing Vehicular Homicide Charges

A Louisiana firefighter is facing vehicular homicide charges over a fatal apparatus accident that occurred last June. Cody Kahl, 24, a firefighter with Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 5, is facing the charges stemming from the death of Gail Rippel, 83.

According to WBRZ, the arrest warrant executed by Denham Springs Police Department stated that Kahl’s bloodwork indicated he had THC in his system when the accident occurred. The accident involved three vehicles. Kahl was operating an engine that struct the rear of a a trailer being towed by a pickup. The truck then crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with Rippel’s vehicle.

News reports indicate that Kahl was charged last August, but the details of his arrest only recently came to light.  WBRZ interviewed Mark Lachney, who was a passenger in the pickup towing the trailer that Kahl struck, who told reporters:

  • There’s no way… especially someone like a first responder…
  • Knowing he was on some kind of a drug…
  • This was very unnecessary.
  • I don’t feel that that guy should have ever been driving that fire truck.
  • There’s no way he should have been driving that fire truck.

I was not able to embed the WBRZ video, but here is a link to it.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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