Aug. 15--PILOT MOUNTAIN -- Police in Pilot Mountain are investigating a report of a Wednesday night assault that allegedly took place in the back of an ambulance after EMS officials responded to a workplace injury.
According to alleged victim Thomas Joseph Manuel, 40, the incident occurred in the back of a Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad ambulance after he severed two fingers while working at New River Tire Recycling.
Manuel says that after rescuers arrived, things went down hill.
"A lot of my family members work with the rescue squad, and my uncle...was on the scene," he said.
According to the victim, he was placed in the back of the ambulance, strapped down and was receiving an IV when a rescue squad worker entered the back of the rescue vehicle.
"He got me inside the ambulance then started verbally abusing me and berating me and it ended up with him striking me in the face," Thomas Manuel said. "I don't think it's right."
Manuel said the animosity between the two involve a strained family relationship.
"He picked the wrong time," he said. "I was already strapped on the stretcher. I could have spoken to him at any time, but he had me where I couldn't go anywhere so he decided to do it while I was strapped on there bleeding. That was just uncalled for. I don't think that was very professional at all."
The altercation was reportedly broken up by a second paramedic who arrived on the scene.
"I didn't get his name, but that paramedic stepped up for me," Manuel said. "I really appreciate what he did."
According to county Emergency Services Director John Shelton, the incident was reported to his office and action has been taken.
"What we ended up doing was calming down the situation and getting the victim transported to the hospital," Shelton said. "There was an argument and they calmed it as best as they could in order to get him the help he needed."
Shelton said a review has been conducted.
"In situations like this, we review the situation and turn in a report," he said. "We advise the rescue squad of any discipline that needs to take place and follow up."
Since he claimed the issue involves a personnel matter, Shelton said he couldn't comment on specifics, but said the situation "has been addressed."
"We've handled it in an appropriate manner from our end," he said.
Manuel said he has reported the matter to the Pilot Mountain Police Department.
"I certainly plan on pressing charges," he said. "It was uncalled-for."
A spokesperson for the Pilot Mountain Police Department confirmed that an investigation is under way. However, no investigator was available for comment on Friday. No charges had been filed as of mid-afternoon Friday.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter
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