A man believed to be overdosing on Oxycodone was arrested Sunday after police said he attacked two paramedics in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.
Police found 22-year-old Branden Goins, of Ooltewah, inside a Wendy's restaurant at 7408 Bonny Oaks Drive just after 8 p.m., records show. Goins was clutching an unlabeled medication bottle and told police he'd just purchased $10 worth of Oxycodone pills.
Because he appeared to have overdosed, Goins was put in an ambulance and was headed to the hospital for treatment, records show.
However, the ambulance only made it about a mile before the driver stopped to call police because Goins was fighting with paramedics, according to an affidavit.
An officer arrived at the ambulance and found Goins kicking and flailing. The officer placed Goins in handcuffs. A paramedic in the ambulance told police Goins started to fight when she tried to put an IV in his arm. She also said the 22-year-old grabbed her groin without consent.
The officer rode the rest of the trip in the ambulance with the paramedics, then took Goins to the Hamilton County Jail after he received treatment at the hospital.
Goins was charged with sexual battery, public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance and assault on a medical provider. He was booked into jail on an $11,500 bond.
Under state law, people charged with assaulting police officers or health care providers face higher penalties than in typical assault cases. While a normal assault charge is a misdemeanor that can result in a $2,500 fine, assault against a medical provider or law enforcement officer can result in a $5,000 fine. It is still a misdemeanor.
Ken Wilkerson, director of Hamilton County Emergency Services, applauded the 2013 change to state law that upped the fine, saying he encourages employees to work closely with law enforcement when assaults happen.
"Periodically, EMTs and paramedics are assaulted by patients and/or bystanders on emergency medical scenes," he said. "As in all situations, we emphasize safety to all of our personnel. And we work closely with area law enforcement agencies to address these situations whenever they may occur."