A former ambulette driver faces four years behind bars after being charged in November 2013 with criminally negligent homicide of an 86-year-old nursing home patient. The driver, 49 year- old Juan Garcia, was also charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.
The charges allege that Garcia, a former employee of Maeleen Ambulette Transport, Inc., failed in 2010 to fasten the seatbelt of a wheelchair-bound elderly patient being transported from a dialysis appointment to her nursing home, Gold Crest Care Center, in the Bronx.
When Garcia stopped the ambulette short at an intersection, the elderly patient was ejected from her wheelchair and fractured her hip when she hit the floor. Instead of taking the patient, who was screaming in pain, to the hospital, Garcia continued on his way to Gold Crest Care Center. Garcia even ignored the pleas of a certified nurse’s assistant to take the woman to the hospital.
The 86-year-old woman died a month later in the hospital, where she underwent hip surgery, due to complications from her injury.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated, “This ambulette driver was entrusted with the well-being of his wheelchair-bound patient. Had he taken the most basic safety precautions, this vulnerable nursing home resident would not have died in this horrific way.”