An EMSA driver lost his job a day after the District Attorney filed criminal charges against him. Benjamin Samples faces negligent homicide after he crashed his ambulance into another car, killing the driver.
Samples was employed by Paramedics Plus, the subcontractor for EMSA. His attorney confirmed his job was terminated Tuesday morning.
The day of the deadly crash, EMSA reported Benjamin Samples was responding to a priority two call, a non-life threatening emergency with a response time of 12 minutes 59 seconds.
Records show Samples was driving 83 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour speed zone when he slammed into another driver, Fidel Solis. The police report states Samples was driving on the wrong side of the road.
EMSA released the following information Tuesday:
"Paramedics Plus employees are required to follow state law, which requires medics to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons. Drivers may only exceed maximum speed limits as long as speeding does not endanger life or property. The policy requires drivers to not exceed 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit."
The driver's attorney, Ed Blau, responded to EMSA's statements.
"That is absolutely ridiculous. Anybody who has seen an ambulance go to an emergency, it's always going much faster than that. As it should," Blau said.
The District Attorney filed a negligent homicide charge against Samples, stating he willfully drove a motor vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others."
"This was a tragic accident and Mr. Samples is devastated by the loss of life. However Mr. Samples is guilty of no crime," Blau said.
Samples was hired by Paramedics Plus in February of this year. Court records indicate he pled guilty to a DUI charge in May, 2003.
According to EMSA, Paramedics Plus does background checks that comply with state and national guidelines.
EMSA said Paramedics Plus has a four week orientation academy for all new employees, which includes classroom instruction on driving safety and field driving training. It also does an annual refresher driver course emphasizing safety.