Kendal Evans Billings, a paramedic in Florida had his state certifications suspended and lost his job after repeatedly punching a combative motorcycle crash victim, knocking him unconscious, officials said.
Kendal Evans Billings, 26, of Dunedin, was working for Nature Coast Emergency Medical Services in Citrus County when he responded to the scene of a motorcycle accident in Crystal River on Dec. 9.
The crash victim, Terrence Dolan, 61, then became “very uncooperative” while in the ambulance en route to Ocala Regional Medical Center, a common side effect of someone suffering from head trauma, according to an arrest report.
Once at the hospital, a student who was riding in the ambulance told police that he and other crew members needed to subdue Dolan with “arm and leg restraints for fear he might hurt someone,” according to the report.
Dolan then kicked Billings in the face as he and the student tried to restrain him, prompting Billings to “strike Dolan in the face multiple times,” the student told police. The closed-fist blows, about five or six in all, caused Dolan to lose consciousness and to bleed profusely from a previously controlled wound, the report states.
The incident was so jarring that the student, identified as Joseph Annilto, called his supervisor afterward “because he knew it was wrong,” according to the report.
The driver of the ambulance, Zadee Cespedes, told police he saw Billings “make a punching motion” toward Dolan, but said he was unsure if the blows actually landed. Cespedes didn’t see Dolan kick Billings, but acknowledged that the crash victim had been “very combative” during the ride to the hospital.
Billings acknowledged to police that being combative was a common problem for patients with head trauma, but initially denied striking Dolan. He later admitted that he “lost his cool” after Dolan allegedly threatened him, leading him to punch the crash victim a “couple of times,” according to the arrest report.
Billings also insisted the punches were thrown in self-defense and said he had been aiming for Dolan’s chest. Still, Billings admitted that he “wasn’t thinking” at the time, the report states.
Billings was arrested at the hospital hours after the crash on one count of aggravated battery before being released from custody later that day. The Florida Department of Health then suspended Billings’ emergency medical technician/paramedic certifications on Friday.
“Mr. Billings’ partner noticed that Mr. Billings was in an angry daze after he struck Patient T.D.,” the emergency suspension order read. “Once Patient T.D. regained consciousness, he asked why he was bleeding. Mr. Billings informed Patient T.D. that he was involved in an accident. Patient T.D. responded, ‘No, you punched me.’”
Michele Tallent, the health department’s deputy secretary for operations, said Billings would pose an “immediate, serious danger” to the public if allowed to continue working as an emergency medical technician.
Billings, who did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday, also lost his job at Nature Coast EMS.