By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - James “Spook” Dingess, 56, of Dingess, was placed under arrest on Thursday by the Williamson Police Department after a warrant was obtained against him on charges of falsely reporting an emergency incident.
According to the criminal complaint, Dingess allegedly called Mingo County 911 or had others do so for him, requesting EMS services that were not needed.
The complaint states that on May 16th and 23rd, the defendant did, by virtue of his alleged inebriated condition, cause the public alarm in such manner as to callers notifying the 911 dispatchers of his questionable symptoms , thus dispatching rescue responders and ambulance personnel to treat the defendant. The complaint further states that the defendant’s vitals showed contrary to the complaint, and he reportedly was falsely reporting a medical emergency in order to use the ambulance service for transportation purposes to the Williamson area.
“Once the ambulance would take him to the emergency room, Dingess would then sign himself out against medical advice, leave the hospital and walk downtown to a liquor store where he would make a purchase,” explained Williamson P.D. Chief C.D. Rockel. “He would remain around town, consuming alcohol, until his finances were depleted. He would then hitch a ride back to Dingess. As soon as he got a little money together, the cycle would start all over again.”
“When someone falsely requests EMS to respond for reasons besides a true medical emergency, they are first of all, taking the time of medics and EMT’s that could be spent responding to calls where their services are actually needed.”
“The cost of the ambulance ride is not paid by Medicare or Medicaid since they will not reimburse for services that are not valid, so this is a trip that the owners of the EMS service have to take a loss on,” stated Rockel. “Not to mention the emergency room personnel who stay far too busy to have to deal with patients who do not require treatment.”
Rockel remarked that in approximately a 1 month period, Dingess is accused of making 30-40 calls to 911, or had another party call on his behalf.
Dingess was arraigned before Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler Thursday afternoon and was remanded to the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden, where he remains on a $5,000 bond.