Clearwater Fire inspector punched by motorist - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater Fire inspector punched by motorist

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Fire inspector Ron Neuberger Fire inspector Ron Neuberger
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

A Clearwater fire inspector is recovering after police say a motorist punched him after a traffic accident.

Ron Neuberger was leaving the main fire station and stumbled upon the wreck on Myrtle Avenue just north of Court Street around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. He initially thought the driver in a Ford pickup truck was having a medical issue.

"And I asked him if he had any medical problems. Was anything wrong?" Neuberger said. "And he was kind of out of it and started waving his arm, and I reached through with my right hand and grabbed his arm and I said, 'Sir, are you okay? Is anything wrong?'  And he said, no, and he reached across with his right hand and punched me."

Police arrested that driver, 63-year old Gary Cook.  He's now facing DUI and battery charges.  Jail records indicate this is Cook's third DUI. 

Neuberger says aside from a sore jaw, he wasn't seriously hurt.

"I've taken more abuse around the house from the kids, so..." Neuberger said.

He also says this incident won't change how he operates in the future.

"Gonna do the same thing. Nothing's gonna change... I've been doing the same thing all my career. It's not going to change," said Neuberger.  "You're still going to be there to help people and that's your first instinct, to help them not to think that they're going to harm you."

At last check, Cook was being held in the Pinellas County Jail.

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