EMT involved in fatal ambulance crash failed to disclose criminal history

James Wesley, who was driving an ambulance involved in a fatal crash, did not disclose his extensive felony record

By EMS1 Staff

CHICAGO — An EMT who was driving an ambulance when it crashed, killing himself and two others, did not disclose his extensive felony history to state regulators as required and should not have had his EMT license.

ABC7 reported that Excel Ambulance Company EMT James Wesley lost control of the ambulance he was driving and died instantly after crashing into a building, also killing his colleague, EMT Prentis Williams and dialysis patient Larry Marshall Jr.

The Illinois Department of Public Health looked into Wesley’s EMT licensing information after ABC7 reported that he had an extensive record of drug possession, theft and criminal damage to property from 1992 to 2007.

“Mr. Wesley was required to inform IDPH of his felony convictions upon renewal of his EMT license in 2015, but he did not,” IDPH spokesperson Melaney Arnold said.  "Unless the applicant discloses the felony conviction and gives IDPH authorization for a criminal history report, IDPH does not have the authority under the EMS Act to obtain a criminal history report from law enforcement.”

Illinois law states that "all applicants for any license, permit or certification under the Act shall fully disclose any and all felony convictions in writing to the Department at the time of initial application or renewal. Failure to disclose all felony convictions on an application submitted to the Department shall be grounds for license denial or revocation."

EMTs must either check a box on their renewal form that says "I have NOT been convicted of a felony," or "I HAVE been convicted of a felony."

Excel Ambulance attorney Frank Nagorka said the agency was “unaware of any falsifications with respect to Mr. Wesley’s EMT license.”

“His license was granted by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the license is issued pursuant to statute and regulation,” Nagorka said. “At the time of the incident involving Mr. Wesley, his EMT license was in full force and no restrictions were in place."

The Cook County Medical Examiner said they are still waiting on results from a toxicology report for Wesley, and that the crash is still under investigation.

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