County manger investigating EMS delay
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla. - Fox 4 is still trying to get answers for you and a distraught Naples family after our investigation discovered a Collier County ambulance crew waited six critical minutes before ever leaving the station to help a dying man.
After being stonewalled by EMS Chief Walter Kopka for three weeks, we tried calling his boss County Manager Leo Ochs who is investigating the delay and how EMS handled the situation. Fox 4 tried to reach Ochs for a week - when our calls were not returned we decided to pay him a visit.
"Mr. Ochs can I ask you a few questions?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"Are you Matt? Nice to see you," said Ochs. "I was thinking Tuesday we could set up some time to get together."
"Is that a promise?" asked Grant.
"It's a guarantee," said Ochs.
But the only guarantee the Minard family wants is that what happened to them won't happen to anyone else. On Dec. 14, their son Chaz Minard, 25, went into cardiac arrest when the family called 911. An ambulance was dispatched but the crew waited six minutes before ever leaving the station because, according to documents, their radios weren't working and they were vacuuming.
The EMS chief promised answers last month but has stonewalled us ever since.
"EMS hasn't reached out to us in three weeks, they haven't returned any of our phone calls," said Grant. "What's your response to that?"
"Well, I understand they met with the family just yesterday," said Ochs.
That meeting, which the family insists was calm, ended with the EMS chief kicking them out and calling the cops.
"He's blowing smoke up our --," a family member said at the time. "They have no answers for us."
"Do you feel the county has handled the Minard's, calling the police on them and everything, do you feel they've handled this appropriately?," asked Grant.
"I don't have any information about that," said Ochs, who added, "I'll be happy to look into that and make sure we're doing the right thing."
Ochs is investigating what happened along with EMS' response.
"To my knowledge, we're getting close to wrapping it up," said Ochs. "It's complex. There's three agencies involved besides our own EMS department. I'm hopeful by Tuesday we'll have a good conversation."
But the family won't have to wait that long.
They came with us looking for answers and the county manager promised they would get them.
"Let's get together Thursday," the county manager told the family, "and spend as much time as we need to work through all the questions."