Officials: Man using ambulances as taxi service
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HENDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Henderson County deputies have charged Chase Lucas with filing a false report for allegedly abusing local emergency medical services. Deputies said Lucas and his wife were walking along Highway 22 South when he called EMS requesting an ambulance. “The ambulance got there and transported he and his wife to the ER here in Lexington,” Capt. Tracey Grisham with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said. Once taken to the hospital, Lucas told the examining doctor he “only called 911 to get a ride to town,” according to a report from the sheriff’s office. Investigators said the 21-year-old did not just request one ride into town — he reportedly has a history of hitching rides in ambulances. “He and his wife leave, they’re walking to wherever they’re going in town,” Capt. Grisham said. “Once they get through, he calls back and says, ‘hey, we need a ride back home.'” Reports reveal Lucas has done this numerous times. Officials said he tells EMS that TennCare approves the EMS request. “I do not see TennCare approving that,” Grisham said. “That was just a statement he made.” Officials said each call for an ambulance costs $1,000 plus $14 per mile. The cost for an EMS evaluation is also factored into the total. Some taxpayers said they are irritated by Lucas’ recklessness. “I feel used,” Andrea Hart said. “That’s hard-earned money that can go somewhere that it’s really needed.” Other Henderson County residents said since EMS has to respond to every medical request, Lucas could have indirectly caused other injuries. “That could have interfered with somebody getting hurt or killed,” Tim Trout said. Lucas was released Tuesday morning from the Henderson County Correctional Complex. Records show Lucas has a criminal history with theft and probation violations. Capt. Grisham said he could face additional charges in the future for the alleged EMS abuse.