Two Illinois EMS workers charged with murder in death of patient strapped face-down on stretcher

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Two Illinois EMS workers have been charged with murder in connection with the death of a 35-year-old man in their care, who they allegedly strapped face-down on a stretcher.

Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 44, emergency medical workers for LifeStar, were charged with first-degree murder in the Dec. 18 death of Earl L. Moore Jr, Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright announced Tuesday.

Moore died after he was taken into an ambulance in a prone position, meaning face-down, and had straps placed on his back and lower body to keep him on the stretcher, Wright said.

Paramedics load Earl Moore into an ambulance on Dec. 18, 2022, in Springfield, Ill.
An image from a police body camera shows EMS workers loading Earl Moore into an ambulance on Dec. 18, 2022, in Springfield, Ill.Sangamon County Government

The Springfield Police Department had responded to a home around on North 11th street in the state’s capital around 2 a.m. after receiving a call about people inside with firearms. When officers arrived, a resident said the person who made the 911 call was suffering from “hallucinations due to alcohol withdrawal,” police said in a news release

Officers found that individual, Moore, and “quickly realized that the patient was in need of medical assistance,” police said. 

An ambulance was called and arrived at the scene at 2:18 a.m. 

A female paramedic instructed Moore to walk to the ambulance, but body camera footage, also released Tuesday, showed he “was not able to walk and the medical personnel were not offering any assistance,” police said. 

The three police officers helped Moore through the home onto a stretcher outside. 

Officer body camera footage showed the EMS workers place Moore onto a stretcher in a prone position, according to police.

Moore died at the hospital at 3:14 a.m., Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon said at the Tuesday news conference.

An autopsy was performed and determined Moore’s 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,” Allmon said.

His death was classified as a homicide.

When police were notified that Moore had died, Chief Ken Scarlette requested an independent investigation by the Illinois State Police. 

Wright said that based on the findings of the ongoing ISP investigation and the autopsy report, he filed first-degree murder charges against Cadigan and Finley.

They are currently detained in Sangamon County jail on bail of $1 million each.

Wright read out the charges to reporters saying 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 said 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 Jan. 19.

LifeStar Ambulance Service did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.



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