After leaving a bar, Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Ellsworth Fortman crashes his pickup truck into a parked car and a streetlight, drives home, and fails to cooperate with the deputies who come 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 working overtime on a new assignment to manage the city’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination program.
Prosecutors charge Fortman with hit-and-run and driving without a valid license, but he remains employed.
LAFD investigators are recommending that Fortman be brought before a disciplinary hearing on four charges arising from the crash.
Fortman faces a Judicial Council review to determine guilt and sentence. The hearing was never scheduled.
In exchange for the criminal charges being dismissed, Fortman enters a court-supervised diversionary program. He will continue to be of service and associated with the COVID-19 initiative.
State regulators fined Fortman $2,500 for violating codes related to his duties as a paramedic.
After questions from The Times, fire officials are proceeding to schedule a hearing from the Board of Law. Within days, Fortman will retire without penalty after collecting $354,000 in overtime from the COVID-19 assignment.