By Leeann Doerflein
Franklin Daily Journal
EDINBURGH — An Edinburgh emergency medical technician was arrested Friday after an investigation into a December battery incident.
Jeramy G. Goodnight, 42, of Columbus was charged with one count of official misconduct as a level 6 felony and one count of battery as a misdemeanor.
The charges stem from a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office investigation into Goodnight’s behavior while responding to a car crash on Dec. 27, 2021, according to a joint press release from the sheriff’s office and prosecutor’s office.
Medical personnel including Goodnight were brought to the scene to examine the driver, who had some physical injuries and was believed to be intoxicated, the release says.
While inside the ambulance the driver became increasingly belligerent. The driver was first restrained with an oxygen mask to prevent him from spitting on anyone, the release says.
When the man continued to be belligerent, Goodnight is alleged to have taken his hands, placed them over the patient’s head and pressed down on his eyelids with his thumbs. The resulted in the patient screaming out in pain, though he was not injured, according to the release.
Two deputies were inside the ambulance and witnessed the incident. They immediately reported it to a supervisor, who asked the investigations division to look into the matter, the release says.
Though it is tough to investigate a fellow first responder, Sheriff Duane Burgess said the investigations team handled the incident fairly and impartially.
“I applaud my deputies for bringing this to the attention of a supervisor immediately, which allowed my department to swiftly move to investigate this incident and forward our findings to the Prosecutor’s Office for charges. No one is above the law,” Burgess said in the release.
Though situations like these are frustrating, Prosecutor Joe Villanueva said it is unacceptable for first responders to behave this way.
“Police and fire personnel routinely deal with intoxicated or belligerent people. This individual was handcuffed and not a physical threat to the safety of anyone inside that ambulance. Part of doing this kind of job is having a thick skin and letting comments slide, and that’s exactly what should have happened here. We will now seek to hold Mr. Goodnight accountable for his alleged actions in choosing otherwise,” Villanueva said in the release.
Burgess and Villanueva said Goodnight’s behavior should not be reflective on other fire and emergency medicine providers in Johnson County.
The town of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Fire and Rescue have been transparent and cooperative during this investigation, the release says.
Town officials were unavailable over the weekend to provide information on Goodnight’s current employment status.