Tennessee EMS Director Target of Probe

A Bledsoe County EMS Director is at the center of a state, federal and local investigation in connection with "mishandled" pharmaceutical supplies for the county's ambulances


 
 

Ben Benton, Chattanooga Times Free Press | | Wednesday, February 20, 2013


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Longtime Bledsoe County Emergency Medical Service Director Larry Billingsley is at the center of a state, federal and local investigation launched Friday in connection with "mishandled" pharmaceutical supplies for the county's ambulances, authorities said.

Billingsley has not been charged, but Bledsoe County, Tenn., investigators and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation narcotics agents conducted interviews all day Tuesday, Sheriff's Department Investigator Ricky Seals said.

The probe started in Bledsoe on Friday after U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents working with Erlanger Health System officials contacted the sheriff's department.

DEA agents sent Bledsoe word "about some medication mishandling, and Mr. Billingsley's name was mentioned as the person who would have been involved," said Seals, who added that District Attorney Mike Taylor was notified immediately.

Taylor said Tuesday that he called on the TBI's narcotics unit to help Bledsoe with its part of the investigation.

"Right now, we're in the first stages of investigation," Seals said.

Billingsley could not be reached for comment Tuesday. A woman who answered Billingsley's cellphone said he had an attorney representing him but would not give the attorney's name. The woman would not comment further.

Bledsoe County Mayor Bobby Collier said Tuesday that Billingsley resigned, citing "health reasons" as cause for his departure.

Former Bledsoe EMS employee Kendell Smith, who most recently worked for Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville, Tenn., has been appointed to the EMS director's post, Collier said.

Smith will serve for the next 90 days, "and we'll see how it goes from there," Collier said.

Collier said the ambulance service will continue operating as usual, and he credited Billlingsley with doing a "good job" establishing the ambulance service as it exists today.

Collier said he was "shocked" to learn of the investigation.

Billingsley has been with Bledsoe EMS for more than 22 years, beginning in April 1990, according to archives of the Bledsonian Banner newspaper in Pikeville. He was the county's first paramedic and became director in 1997. Records show Billingsley also serves on the board of the Tennessee Ambulance Service Association.

If the investigation into Billingsley's activities results in charges, it will mark the third criminal case involving public officials in Bledsoe County and the county seat of Pikeville, Tenn., in the past six months.

In August, former Pike-ville Mayor Greg Johnson was jailed on felony theft and official misconduct charges in connection with allegations he defrauded taxpayers out of more than $250,000 in public funds.

In November, Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris was arrested along with another man on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges stemming from a fight at a Huddle House in nearby Sequatchie County. Both those cases still are pending in court, officials said.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, EMS director, pharmaceutical supplies, investigation, mishandling

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee County EMS Shows Off CPR Tool

Lucas 2 in service in Bradley County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >