Wright Files Motion Against LifeStar EMTs Saying False Statements Were Made; Possible Influence of SPD Officer Account Alleged

By Benjamin Cox on February 3, 2023 at 9:12am

Motions filed in a case against two Springfield EMTS accused of first-degree murder say that false statements have been made to investigators and one of the EMTs are alleged to have tried to influence the statements of a Springfield Police officer.

Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright’s motions claim that an Illinois State Police investigation into the death of 35 year old Earl Moore Jr. of Springfield claims that LifeStar EMT Peggy Finley talked to Springfield Police officer Jacob Wayda, asking him to ensure HSHS St. John’s personnel that Moore was a “different patient” from the time he was picked up by Finley and EMT Peter Cadigan, to his arrival at HSHS St. John’s Hospital, according to a report from the State Journal Register. Moore had called police after hallucinating from detoxing from alcohol and marijuana in his system.

Moore died less than an hour after his transport to the hospital from compression and positional asphyxia after being strapped in a face-down prone position on a gurney by the two EMTs. Both have been charged with first-degree murder and have pled not guilty.

According to a copy of the motion, Wayda told State Police investigators that Finley said the hospital was probably going to want a statement from him and “to ensure that I told them that Moore was ‘responsive’ while we were at [Moore’s] residence.” Wayda told investigators that when he asked Finley to clarify what she meant about Moore being a “different patient,” Finley “did not form a clear answer.”

The motion goes on to say that Finley, in her patient care report, noted that Moore was “combative” at the scene. An ISP investigator testified on Jan. 20 that the body camera footage provided by the Springfield Police Department from the three officers, including Wayda’s, showed Moore needed assistance getting out of his home and onto the stretcher. The motion also says Finley texted Cadigan and another EMT the morning after Moore’s death saying she took responsibility for not shifting Moore out of the prone position.

According to a WICS Newschannel 20 report, the motion also says that Finley falsely claimed to the Illinois State Police that she took Moore’s vitals during transport from the scene to St. John’s Hospital. However, in a recorded call between Finley and the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Finley is heard saying she was not “messing with vitals” because she didn’t want to “poke the bear.” St. John’s Hospital staff also reported not getting vitals for Moore from the 2 EMTs.

According to the ISP investigation, Finley, who was riding in the back of the ambulance while Cadigan drove, told investigators the ambulance’s emergency lights and sirens were on during transport. But that claim is refuted by Cadigan’s statement along with surveillance video from an intersection the ambulance went through.

Cadigan also told ISP that he did not receive any training on patient positioning and the risks of positional asphyxia caused by prone transport. But state police found records that Cadigan went through training on the topics about six months before Moore’s death.

Both Cadigan and Finley will be back in court on Monday. They remain held on $1 million bond each at the Sangamon County Jail.