Lieutenant describes scary scene when 3 EMTs dragged

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Fire officials say three EMTs were injured on Sunday afternoon, February 17th after responding to a call of a possible overdose. The incident occurred around 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon near Capitol and Richards. Just two days later, FOX6 News spoke with one of the firefighters on the call for help that turned into chaos.

Fire officials say three EMTs met a man who was impaired, and reportedly tried to escape the EMTs by getting into his car and fleeing the scene.

"He ran off and was attempting to get into his car. They tried to keep him from getting into his car, but he managed to break free," Deputy Fire Chief Jack Christianson said.

Officials say one EMT was on the driver's side window, a second was on the passenger's side and a third was in the backseat trying to restrain the man.

Once the man started driving, two of the EMTs were dragged about 20 to 30 feet, while a third was able to get the vehicle to stop.

"Capitol Drive is a busy area, so right away, your heart just drops," Christianson said.

Lieutenant Spencer Ramsdell was there, and what he saw left his heart pounding through his chest.

"I look up and I have two of my firefighters rolling down the pavement. They're yelling at me - 'this guy shouldn't be driving. There's something wrong with him,'" Ramsdell said.

Milwaukee police say 25-year-old William Cuff was at the center of the concern. Firefighters say it is unclear whether Cuff was on drugs or was having a health problem. What was clear is the potential threat posed to others if he got on the road.

"They were just hanging onto the patient. Got drug about 15, 20 feet," Ramsdell said.

Ramsdell said he was happy to see the firefighters were able to bring the vehicle to a stop.

"He had enough presence of mind to reach forward and grab the wheel. Slam the thing up into park," Ramsdell said.

The three injured EMTs were taken to St. Mary's Hospital for evaluation. They were treated and released.

"They're still pretty bruised up and banged up," Ramsdell said.

"I was just glad to see they weren't serious injuries," Christianson said.

Cuff has not yet been formally charged in this case, but police are handing this case over to the DA's office. Online court records show he has faced a felony heroin charge and an OWI charge in the past.