After leaving a bar, Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Ellsworth Fortman crashes his pickup truck into a parked car and a street light, drives home and does not cooperate with sheriff’s deputies who arrive to question him.
Fortman admits to LAFD investigators that he left the scene of the crash but denies being drunk.
Facing potential criminal charges and an internal investigation, Fortman begins earning overtime from a new assignment helping to manage the city’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination program.
Prosecutors charge Fortman with hit-and-run and driving without a valid driver’s license, but he remains on duty.
LAFD investigators recommend Fortman be brought before a disciplinary hearing on four charges stemming from the crash.
Fortman faces a Board of Rights review to determine culpability and punishment. The hearing is never scheduled.
In exchange for the dismissal of the criminal charges, Fortman enters a court-supervised diversion program. He remains on duty and attached to the COVID-19 initiative.
State regulators fine Fortman $2,500 for violating codes related to his duties as a paramedic.
After queries from The Times, Fire Department officials move to schedule a Board of Rights hearing. Within days, Fortman retires with no punishment after collecting $354,000 in overtime from the COVID-19 assignment.