HOLMES COUNTY – A TikTok video capturing a portion of an encounter between a
Washington County man and Holmes County Sheriff John Tate is going viral on social media.
Chipley resident Eugene Nadery posted the video Saturday, July 1, after he was pulled over by Sheriff Tate while traveling southbound on Highway 79 near Esto.
Nadery states in the video that his wife was 23 weeks pregnant and going into labor.
“Wife’s in labor right here, and I’ve got Holmes County Sheriff right here writing me some tickets,” Nadery says in the video, “because my wife is having labor pains…”
Nadery went on to say he told Sheriff Tate, “Either arrest me or follow me” after the sheriff told him he “should have pulled over on the side of the road and waited for EMS instead of taking his wife to the hospital.”
The video shows Sheriff Tate writing Nadery a citation in an area hospital parking lot, the first traffic ticket Sheriff Tate has written since first becoming sheriff in 2017, according to public records.
Sheriff Tate responded to the video on Monday through a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office press release, stating that Nadery’s truck, which had no tag, passed Sheriff Tate’s vehicle in a no-passing zone (double yellow line), on a hill, with oncoming traffic.
“The truck ran Sheriff Tate’s vehicle off the shoulder of the road and nearly clipped the vehicle in front of him, which was driven by Sheriff Tate’s 16-year-old son,” states the press release.
“Sheriff Tate initiated a traffic stop on the truck. The driver told Sheriff Tate his wife was 23 weeks pregnant and having pains and that he was trying to get her to the hospital. Sheriff Tate offered to have EMS enroute with an ambulance to take her safely the rest of the way to the hospital.”
According to the press release, Nadery “began cussing at Sheriff Tate and told him he could meet him at the hospital.”
“Sheriff Tate followed the truck south from Esto, observing the driver passing multiple vehicles in no-passing zones and running other vehicles off the road while reaching speeds of 100 mph,” officials wrote. “Upon entering Bonifay, Sheriff Tate observed the truck run a red light, nearly causing an accident at the intersection.”
HCSO stated the truck, followed by Sheriff Tate, arrived at the hospital, and Nadery escorted his pregnant wife inside.
“When he came back out, Sheriff Tate attempted to talk to him about the situation, but the man continued yelling and cussing,” said HCSO officials. “Sheriff Tate also noticed two young children in the backseat of the vehicle. Multiple citations were issued to the driver for the infractions that occurred during the drive from Esto to Bonifay, and he was free to go.”
HCSO went on to say Nadery’s wife was not in labor, rather “having an issue with her
magnesium levels,” according to a Facebook comment she posted.
“We are glad to hear she did not enter pre-term as the driver feared,” wrote HCSO. “While we understand that sometimes emergencies happen, it is still the person’s responsibility to drive safely and not endanger other motorists on the roadway.”
As of the end of business day on Monday, Nadery’s video was gaining traction on TikTok with nearly 50,000 “likes,” more than 2,500 saves, nearly 3,400 shares, and more than 12,000 comments. The same video had more than 350 shares on Facebook.
Most of the comments focused on Sheriff Tate’s response to Nadery telling him if anything happened to his wife, it was “on him.”
“I can live with that,” said Sheriff Tate in the video.
Holmes County Advertiser reached out to Sheriff Tate, who referred reporters to the press release for details. He did expound on the “I can live with that” statement, saying he meant that he could accept responsibility for his actions, “just as the driver should accept responsibility for his as well.”
“My statement is being taken out of context,” said Sheriff Tate. “I can live with the decisions I made that night, but even when first responders are responding to an emergency, they still have to observe traffic laws and ensure the safety of others. If you blow through a red light, even running your emergency lights, you’re at fault.”
Holmes County Advertiser also reached out to Nadery; however, the family was not yet ready to comment further on the incident.