Tenn. medic suspended after speeding in ambulance to use restroom

He and the driver of another ambulance allegedly drove 80 to 90 miles per hour; they were not responding to a call

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. — The driver of a Rutherford County EMS ambulance was suspended for speeding because he had to the use the restroom.

The driver, paramedic George Chew, reached speeds of 97 miles per hour at one point, WKRN reports. 

A statement from Rutherford County EMS said Chew has been temporarily suspended without pay.

“Rutherford County EMS received a complaint about an ambulance speeding on I-24. We investigated the complaint and found there was a policy violation. The employee was reprimanded with a written warning and suspended for 72 hours without pay.”

Witnesses reported to police that two ambulances from Rutherford County EMS and Coffee County Ambulance were racing down the interstate.

Deputies from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office stopped both ambulances, giving a warning to slow down, but did not cite the drivers, allowing Rutherford County EMS to handle the incident, which occurred on April 6, 2015.

Chew denied drag racing, and said he didn’t realize how fast he was going. An investigation revealed he was returning from an emergency call, and he said he was speeding because he had to use the restroom.

Coffee County EMS said they looked into allegations that their paramedic was speeding. He also denied he was drag racing, and was not disciplined.

Rutherford County Mayor Earnest Burgess said the paramedics put people in danger by driving at high speeds.

“Certainly it’s even putting other people on the road in serious jeopardy for serious accidents that would injure or kill someone,” Burgess said.  “On top of that if he does it in a county vehicle, the county is liable.”

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