The Omaha firefighter placed on paid administrative leave after a traffic stop Monday has been identified as 32-year-old Daniel Goessling.
An Omaha police officer issued a citation for negligent driving near 168th and Q streets just before 9 a.m. Police were alerted after a caller reported an erratic driver to 911.
Interim Fire Chief Bernie Kanger said Goessling was on duty and in uniform at the time, driving from fire Station 23 on North 30th Street near Interstate 680 to Station 63 at 168th and Q. He was moving to Station 63 to cover a vacancy on the shift. Chief Kanger said firefighters frequently move between stations to cover shifts.
WOWT 6 News has learned from multiple sources in positions to know about the investigations -- that Goessling was slurring his speech and incoherent while at Station 63. The police officer who gave him the ticket never saw the erratic driving, sources said, but wrote the citation based on the witness he contacted. Police officers say that is not uncommon.
The officer never gave him a field sobriety test because Goessling seemed tired -- which is what sources said was the reason he gave for the erratic driving.
“I hold our firefighters to high standards," said Kanger. "I will investigate this and all matters that come to my attention and if any misconduct did occur I will address it and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if warranted.”
The Omaha Fire Department will conduct an internal investigation, since Goessling was on duty. He is completing a probationary period with the Omaha Fire Department.
Daniel is the son of OFD Capt. John Goessling, who died in a fire at the Family Dollar store on April 23, 1996. The 43-year-old became trapped when the roof collapsed.
A citation for negligent driving is similar to a speeding ticket. The fire department isn't saying why the firefighter was put on paid administrative leave. A traffic ticket generally doesn't warrant that.