Two emergency medical workers in Illinois have been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of a 35-year-old man, Earl L. Moore Jr, who they allegedly strapped face-down on a stretcher. Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 44, who work for LifeStar Ambulance Service, were charged with murder by Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright on Tuesday.
The incident occurred on December 18th, when Springfield Police Department responded to a call about people inside a home on North 11th street with firearms. When officers arrived, they found Moore, who was suffering from “hallucinations due to alcohol withdrawal,” and in need of medical assistance. An ambulance was called and arrived at the scene at 2:18 a.m.
According to police, a female paramedic instructed Moore to walk to the ambulance, but body camera footage shows that he was not able to walk and the medical personnel were not offering any assistance. The three police officers helped Moore through the home onto a stretcher outside, according to NBC News.
Officer body camera footage also shows the EMS workers placing Moore onto a stretcher in a prone position, according to police. Moore died at the hospital at 3:14 a.m., and an autopsy revealed that the cause of death was compressional and positional asphyxia “due to prone face-down restraint on a paramedic transportation cot/stretcher by tightened straps across the back.”
When police were notified of Moore’s death, Chief Ken Scarlette requested an independent investigation by the Illinois State Police. Based on the findings of the ISP investigation and the autopsy report, Wright filed first-degree murder charges against Cadigan and Finley. They are currently detained in Sangamon County jail on bail of $1 million each.
Wright said that the defendants “did act without lawful justification” in transporting Moore in the prone position and by placing “tightened restraints” on his back and lower body. He added that they should have known, “based upon their training, experience and the surrounding circumstances, that such acts would create a substantial probability of great bodily harm or death.”
The prosecutor said they face a range of 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted. It’s not immediately clear if they have lawyers. An attorney for the pair did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Their next court date is set for January 19th.
The incident has caused shock and outrage among the public, as it raises questions about the training and practices of emergency medical workers. The death of Moore, who was in need of medical assistance, highlights the importance of proper training and protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of patients. The investigation is still ongoing and more details about the incident are expected to be revealed in the coming days.
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