Sheriff Orders Dothan Eye News Off Scene
On the evening of July 21, 2010, at around 6:00, we responded to the scene of a collision with serious / critical injuries at the intersection of East U. S. Highway 84 and Rocky Creek road in Ashford, Alabama. Upon arriving on scene, I proceeded to take my pictures from well over 30 yards away, making sure that I did not interfere with rescue or fire operations still ongoing at the time. The patient (or patients, I was not allowed the “privilege” of hanging around long enough to find out…) had already been transported to the hospital by Ashford Rescue, and the only activity on scene was that of firefighters and Sheriff’s deputies monitoring the scene and directing traffic while awaiting the arrival of the Alabama State Trooper.
About that time, in the distance, I hear a voice cry out “Bye Blake!”. It was the voice of a lieutenant with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Randy Anderson to be exact. “Bye Blake!!” He yelled again. “Bye Blake!”, he continued.
I questioned the deputy, after a few moments of dialogue with him, as to why they would allow other members of the media on scene to take pictures and report on the incident. He said that, “They’re authorized by the sheriff to be here. You’re not! Bye!”. This is not the first time we have been ordered off the scene by Lt. Anderson. On the evening of July 14, 2010, we responded to a motor vehicle accident on West U. S. Highway 84 in Wicksburg. We were told by Lt. Anderson that we were not allowed to be on scenes in Houston County according to the sheriff.
Our request to the sheriff: Please provide Dothan Eye News with the written policy and points of law that determine who from the media is authorized to be on a scene in Houston County.
(Click play below to hear the dialogue between Blake and Lt. Anderson on the Pansey accident.)
Lt. Anderson (far left) as he notices that Blake is on scene.
Lt. Anderson walking over to Blake
Proof that deputies DID allow Rickey Stokes News on the scene to take pictures and report on the scene.