Rescue Squad member arrested for using taxpayer dollars to fill gas tank

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - An Ashland Rescue Squad member is now in trouble after trying to score free gas - on your dime. David Hinkle was arrested earlier this week accused of using his county gas card to fill up his own vehicle.

Willie Jones with Hanover Fire and EMS says Hinkle used his county gas card for personal purchases for nearly a month.

"Everybody is in shock," Jones said. "I mean five and a half years and been at this rescue squad station all those years. You just never know the reason why. I'm sorry he did it, I don't know the reasoning but I'm glad we caught him."

No one answered the door when we went to Hinkle's home Wednesday.

County employees use gas cards that require drivers to enter ID numbers and mileage during each fill-up - giving the Fire Marshall several red flags that Hinkle might be misusing his card.

One of the red flags was that Hinkle was using premium gas with his county gas card when Fire and EMS only use regular or diesel at the pump.

"Naturally if you're putting in 100 gallons of gas and you're only driving a hundred miles, definitely that was a (red) flag," Jones said. "The only good part of it is the logistics of it, the checks and balances, actually caught this before it became a major issue."

Desperate times cause some people to go to desperate measures. Some Hanover County residents like Matt Dunn say they're not surprised to hear someone is stealing gas with the current high prices.

"It's good that he's caught," Dunn said. "It's our tax dollars that are paying for it. If we have to pay for it, I think they should have to pay for it."

Hinkle will make his first appearance in court next week. He's suspended from the rescue squad until after his trial and could lose his job if he's convicted.

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