Ellsworth Fortman crash: A timeline of how the LAFD official evaded discipline


January 2020

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.

March 2022

Fortman admits to LAFD investigators that he left the scene of the crash, but denies being drunk.

March 2020

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.

Ellsworth Fortman, left, and Mayor Eric Garcetti at the inauguration of a COVID-19 vaccine site at Union Station on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

May 2020

Prosecutors charge Fortman with hit-and-run and driving without a valid license, but he remains employed.

A car with a lot of damage to the rear

One of the cars hit by LA Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman, seen in evidence photos.


November 2020

LAFD investigators are recommending that Fortman be brought before a disciplinary hearing on four charges arising from the crash.

Various images of a white pick-up with damage to the front

LA Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman’s damaged truck seen in evidence photos.


December 2020

Fortman faces a Judicial Council review to determine guilt and sentence. The hearing was never scheduled.

Various images of a vehicle with extensive damage to the rear

One of the damaged vehicles hit by LA Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman, seen in evidence photos.


May 2021

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.

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August 2021

State regulators fined Fortman $2,500 for violating codes related to his duties as a paramedic.

March 2022

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.