Detroit EMT Convicted of Wilful Neglect

Former Detroit Fire Department EMT Ann Marie Thomas was convicted of willful neglect charges for failing to respond to an incident in 2015 that led to the death of an eight-month-old girl.

Thomas, who was fired June 24, 2015, was reportedly less than a mile from the home of Janee Wright-Trussel, the mother of eight month old I’Naya Wright-Trussel, when the call came in on May 30, 2015. According to reports, it took Thomas six minutes to drive to the scene. She then parked her unit on a street corner away from the residence while waiting for other units to arrive.

An internal investigation reported Thomas’s excuse for delaying was not about a concern for her safety, but rather was about not wanting to have to do CPR on an infant for an extended period of time without additional resources. The investigation report characterized Thomas’ act as “depraved indifference”.

Thomas was convicted by a jury in 36th District Court last week. The willful neglect charge is a misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to a year in jail. Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced in April. The child’s family is suing Thomas, the city, and the Detroit Fire Department. The infant’s mother, Janee Wright-Trussel, was also charged in connection with her daughter’s death and is now serving 8 years in prison.

More on the conviction.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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