An Idaho police department is hailing nurse Alex Wubbels as a hero for standing up to Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne, who tried to take blood from a patient without a warrant or the patient’s consent.
That patient, it turns out, is William Gray, a reserve officer in Rigby, a city about 15 miles north of Idaho Falls.
“The Rigby Police Department would like to thank the nurse involved and hospital staff for standing firm, and protecting Officer Gray’s rights as a patient and victim,” the agency said on Facebook. “Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act.”
Gray, who is also a truck driver, was badly injured in July when a suspect in a car fleeing police slammed into his truck. The suspect died, and Gray was flown to the University of Utah Burn Center.
In the hospital, police tried to take blood from Gray, who was not under arrest and not conscious and therefore unable to consent to the blood draw. In addition, police did not have a warrant.
Wubbels told Payne he could not draw blood under those circumstances and even got other hospital officials on the phone to confirm that policy to the detective.
She was arrested, and eventually released without being charged.
Payne is now facing a criminal investigation. Another officer is also on leave as the incident is investigated.
The Rigby Police Department said it was not aware of the incident surrounding the blood draw until last week.
“It is important to remember that Officer Gray is the victim in this horrible event, and that at no time was he under any suspicion of wrongdoing,” the department said. “As he continues to heal, we would ask that his family be given privacy, respect, and prayers for continued recovery and peace.”