A Summer County Emergency Medical Services worker was fired for stealing money from the home of a dead person.
Portland police arrested and charged Ashley Choate, 28, of Bethpage, Monday with theft of property under $500. She was booked into the Sumner County jail on a $1,500 bond.
The charges stem from an investigation that began while Portland officers and other first responders were processing the scene of an apparent natural death on Highway 259.
According to police, during the course of the investigation, officers discovered some cash in a vehicle parked in the garage but didn't immediately take it.
When officers went back to retrieve the money, count it and turn it over to the family, the money was no longer there.
Through further investigation, detectives discovered that Choate, a Sumner County EMS for four years, was the only known person in the garage unsupervised.
Detectives interviewed Choate and she subsequently confessed to taking the money, stating it was approximately $100.
She told police she tore up the money and threw it out the window of her car on her way home from work.
Some pieces of the money were discovered at the location Choate pointed out, police said.
Choate, who is also the chief of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department in Bethpage, has been terminated from her position with Sumner County EMS.
“I know that it will come out that I am the chief of a volunteer fire department and I can guarantee to everyone, nothing came out of that fire department and I don't want my actions to reflect on my fire department,” she said.
Choate called her actions a “temporary lack of judgment” and apologized.
She told Nashville's News 2 Tuesday, “Everybody makes mistakes and I know that it will come out that I am the chief of a volunteer fire department and I can guarantee to everyone, nothing came out of that fire department and I don't want my actions to reflect on my fire department.”
Choate declined to answer any further questions citing the ongoing investigation.
She has reportedly resigned from her position at the volunteer fire department.
Sumner County EMS director Keith Douglas referred to Choate's alleged conduct as “inappropriate and not expected of a Sumner EMS employee.”
Choate is scheduled to appear in court September 12.