Hospital suspect also threatened museums

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

CEO details hospital threats, procedures

The Covington County man whose threats put Andalusia Health on lockdown Friday night also caused disruptions at the Air Force Armament Museum and its grounds on Eglin Air Force Base, the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola and the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker.

Local authorities said Andrew Vidich walked into the emergency department Friday night and made threats about explosives. The hospital was on lockdown for four hours as an investigation unfolded, and Vidich eventually was charged with making terrorist threats

Andalusia Health CEO John Yanes said, “On Friday evening, we responded quickly to threatening comments made at the hospital by a patient that was being treated in the emergency department. Given the disturbance the patient was making, the Andalusia Health team followed the appropriate protocols and engaged the authorities to investigate and manage the matter.

“In consulting with local authorities after they spoke with the patient and assessed the situation, in the best interest of our patients and hospital staff, the decision was made to initiate the emergency operations plan (EOP) and determined to evacuate the emergency department,” Yanes said. “At that point, all emergency services were transferred to a designated treatment area consistent with the emergency operations plan.”

The Andalusia Police Department contacted the Dothan bomb squad to completely assess the potential threat.

“After thoroughly following protocol, the authorities determined that the threat was without merit and there was no danger to patients or hospital staff,” Yanes said. “Once the all clear was given, emergency services were returned to the emergency department and we resumed normal operations. “Throughout the process, the Andalusia Team worked closely with local authorities and we are very thankful for the support and guidance we received from the Andalusia Police Department, the Fire Department and the bomb squad from Dothan,” Yanes said.

During the course of the investigation, Vidich, who is 21, also told authorities he had places bombs in unspecified military museums. Beginning at approximately 10 p.m., Eglin’s 96th Security Forces Squadron combed the Armament Museum, its restoration facility, and the static aircraft displays on the museum grounds, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported. The squadron also conducted a three-hour search with bomb-sniffing dogs, but found no evidence of explosives.

On Monday afternoon, Vidich had not been charged with any crimes related to his military museum threats.