N.H. fire captain 'not working' after driving violation

The captain was investigated after police received a complaint he was driving without a license; it's not clear if he was driving fire trucks


Foster's Daily Democrat

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Fire Capt. Steve Johnson was charged with a violation-level offense for allegedly driving after his license was suspended.

According to Fire Chief Norm Sanborn, while Johnson is still employed with the Fire Department, he is “not currently working.” He said he doesn’t know whether Johnson had been driving fire trucks without a valid license while on the job at the Fire Department.

“Everybody’s job here is to drive trucks when needed,” said Sanborn. “Without a license nobody can drive.”

He would not comment further, citing personnel matters.

On Wednesday, Police Capt. Paul Toussaint said that on Aug. 13, police got a complaint from a person who reported Johnson was driving on North Main Street in Rochester after his driver’s license was suspended. Police then looked into the matter, and realized Johnson’s license was in fact suspended and Johnson was issued a hand summons on a driving after suspension charge.

According to Toussaint, a license check on Johnson revealed that Johnson’s license was suspended due to “administrative per se.” Toussaint on Wednesday could not define the meaning of “administrative per se,” and a Department of Motor Vehicles public information officer was not available to define the term before press time.

Toussaint said that operating after suspension, a violation-level offense, carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 fine, and carries no jail time.

Toussaint was unable to say Wednesday when Johnson’s license was suspended.

According to Sanborn, while some firefighters have commercial driver’s licenses (CDL), firefighters are not required to have the CDL to drive fire trucks.

Sanborn on Wednesday also confirmed another firefighter, Lt. Don Penney, is currently employed but “not working.” Sanborn would not comment further, citing personnel matters.

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