Ellsworth Fortman crash: A timeline of how the LAFD official dodged discipline
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.
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.
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.
Prosecutors charge Fortman with hit-and-run and driving without a valid driver’s license, but he remains on duty.
LAFD investigators recommend Fortman be brought before a disciplinary hearing on four charges stemming from the crash.
Fortman faces a Board of Rights review to determine culpability and punishment. The hearing is never scheduled.
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.
State regulators fine Fortman $2,500 for violating codes related to his duties as a paramedic.
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.
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