A 27-year-old EMT has been arrested for allegedly calling in a fake emergency from a Queens payphone in August, in the hopes of avoiding a trip to Brooklyn in response to a call about a sick child.
The fake emergency—involving an imaginary person in cardiac arrest in the middle of a Jackson Heights intersection—prompted a response from almost a dozen emergency personnel, including EMTs, firefighters, and the NYPD.
According to a release from the Department of Investigation, EMT William Medina had just finished transporting a patient in Queens on August 19th, when his unit received a call about a sick child in Brooklyn with a possible high fever.
Apparently not interested in leaving Queens, Medina allegedly used a payphone to call 911 with a fake high-priority emergency: a (fictional) man was in cardiac arrest at the intersection of 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, not breathing, and could possibly be dead.
Medina's unit was nevertheless sent along to Brooklyn. However, while en route to the sick child, his ambulance was flagged down to pick up another sick person. A different unit entirely was ultimately sent to Brooklyn, while firefighters, EMTs, and NYPD officers rushed to the aid of Medina's fabricated cardiac arrest patient.
"As charged, this defendant selfishly created a crisis and undermined public safety as a result," said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters in a statement.
The DOI subsequently reviewed Medina's GPS history from August 19th, and surveillance footage from that day shows Medina leaving his ambulance and approaching the payphone where the fake 911 call was dialed.
Medina, an EMT since last October, was earning an annual salary of $31,931 before his suspension.
He has been charged with falsifying business records, obstructing governmental administration, and falsely reporting an incident. If convicted of all three charges, he could face up to three years in prison.