Convicted Felon Certified As EMT

ITeam Questions Man In Charge Of Certification

You depend on them when there’s a crisis; Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs.

They can make the difference between life and death. Two year old Hailey Williams needed an EMT when her life was cut short in a shocking death. The little girl with Down syndrome died at the hands of her mother’s fiancé, Jesse Thrush, a sheriff’s deputy in Twin Falls County Idaho at the time.

“Thrush had in fact shaken Hailey Williams and thrown her on a bed and after hitting the bed she fell on the floor,” said a Twin Falls Police Captain during a press conference in 1999.

Thrush pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He could have served six years in prison, but was paroled after nine months. Thrush moved to Escondido and the I-Team learned the ex -sheriff’s deputy found a new profession, as an EMT. He was certified last March.

“That’s my decision,” said Dr. Bruce Haynes

Dr. Haynes is the Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services. It’s his job to certify EMTs in the county.

“He’s fully qualified to be an EMT in San Diego,” Haynes said.

The I-Team asked Haynes about Thrush’s criminal past, but he refused to elaborate on the crime.

“I can’t really comment on a specific individual,” Haynes told the I-Team.

The doctor will continue to consider felons for EMT certification.

“I think the system works very well,” said Haynes.

Under the law, conviction of a crime is considered evidence of a threat to the public safety. In California, EMS Medical Directors can deny EMT certifications to anyone convicted of a crime, but they have discretion. That concerns Assemblymember Alberto Torrico.

“Those people shouldn’t be employed in these positions,” Torrico said.

Torrico has authored new legislation to make it tougher for convicted felons to work as EMTs. The rules would limit a medical director’s discretion when it comes to violent criminals.

“I would hope that if that is being considered in San Diego or anywhere else in California that that decision will be challenged,” said Torrico

I-Team reporter Lauren Reynolds asked Dr. Haynes if he was concerned Thrush shook a toddler to death.

“I just can’t comment,” Haynes responded.

The child’s grandmother said Williams was a fighter and survived respiratory problems and heart surgery before suffering extensive brain damage from being shaken by Thrush. She also said Thrush had an anger management problem.

Williams’ mother did not marry Thrush, but he is married now. His current wife told the I-Team Thrush did his time and now dedicates himself to saving peoples’ lives.