Ellsworth Fortman crash: A timeline of how the LAFD official dodged discipline

Ellsworth Fortman administers as COVID-19 vaccine
Ellsworth Fortman administers as COVID-19 vaccine as mass-vaccination of healthcare workers starts at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

January 2020

After leaving a bar, Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Ellsworth Fortman crashes his pickup truck into a parked car and a street light, drives home and does not cooperate with sheriff’s deputies who arrive to question him.

Results of an inquiry into a hit-and-run crash by an LAFD assistant chief show how discipline of any kind in the agency is uncommon — especially, critics say, for chief officers.

Nov. 18, 2022

March 2022

Fortman admits to LAFD investigators that he left the scene of the crash but denies being drunk.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a hit-and-run case in which an assistant chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department allegedly crashed into a parked car in Santa Clarita and fled to his nearby home.

Jan. 29, 2020

March 2020

Facing potential criminal charges and an internal investigation, Fortman begins earning overtime from a new assignment helping to manage the city’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination program.

Two men stand in Union Station
Ellsworth Fortman, left, and Mayor Eric Garcetti at the inauguration of a COVID-19 vaccination site at Union Station on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

May 2020

Prosecutors charge Fortman with hit-and-run and driving without a valid driver’s license, but he remains on duty.

A car with extensive rear-end damage
One the cars hit by L.A. Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman, seen in evidence photos.

November 2020

LAFD investigators recommend Fortman be brought before a disciplinary hearing on four charges stemming from the crash.

Various images of a white pickup truck with front-end damage
The damaged truck belonging to L.A. Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman seen in evidence photos.

December 2020

Fortman faces a Board of Rights review to determine culpability and punishment. The hearing is never scheduled.

Various images of a vehicle with extensive rear-end damage
One of the damaged vehicles hit by L.A. Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman, seen in evidence photos.

May 2021

In exchange for the dismissal of the criminal charges, Fortman enters a court-supervised diversion program. He remains on duty and attached to the COVID-19 initiative.

August 2021

State regulators fine Fortman $2,500 for violating codes related to his duties as a paramedic.

March 2022

After queries from The Times, Fire Department officials move to schedule a Board of Rights hearing. Within days, Fortman retires with no punishment after collecting $354,000 in overtime from the COVID-19 assignment.