Derrick Deanda saw a van on its side after a rollover crash in Elk Grove, California, broke windows to free the father and three kids trapped inside, and then ... got billed $143. "I pulled up right as it happened," Deanda recalls to CBS Sacramento of the September 2015 incident. "There was a guy standing inside the van, because it was on its side, holding a 2 year-old infant." After paramedics arrived, they briefly checked over Deanda, who had a small cut from breaking the glass, checking his pulse and giving him a bottle of water. That's why, weeks after the crash, he got a bill in the mail for a "first-responder fee."
"We’re obligated to provide the same level of service, the same billing, the same everything, for every patient we encounter," explains deputy fire chief Mike McLaughlin. "I asked the paramedics for a bottle of water to clean my hand off because I had a small scrape on my hand they ask me questions and they consider that an assessment on me," Deanda wrote on Facebook, per the Daily Mail. McLaughlin says the fire department wants to "make it right" and waive the fee, but that hasn't happened yet, and Deanda plans to formally appeal. He also says the fee sends the wrong message: "Why would I want to stop to help somebody if I’m going to get a bill for $150?" The family members he helped are all OK.