Former Detroit EMT gets jail time for refusal to respond in 2015 infant death case

Ann Marie Thomas found guilty of willful neglect of duty

DETROIT – A former Detroit Fire Department EMT faced sentencing Thursday morning for willful neglect of duty in connection to the 2015 death of an 8-month-old girl.

Ann Marie Thomas at her arriagnment April 19, 2017.

Ann Marie Thomas was fired from DFD after the department said she refused to help the baby May 30, 2015 while she was on duty just minutes away from the home in the 19900 block of Glastonbury. 

Thomas was sentenced to three months in jail and two years of probation. She was also offered mental health services.

An ambulance eventually got the baby to a hospital. I'Nayah Wright-Trussell was revived but died the next morning.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's released this statement:

"It is alleged that Thomas intentionally delayed her response to a dispatch of an 8-month-old infant who was struggling to breathe. It is further alleged that Thomas stopped driving her vehicle and parked less than a mile away from the location. Another EMT unit was dispatched to the location."

Thomas was found guilty of willful neglect of duty. She spoke prior to being sentenced.

“When this all began I thought this would be my opportunity for the truth to come out, for my voice to be heard,” Thomas said. “I know I did nothing wrong. I did my job as I was trained.”

Thomas talked at length about her loyalty to the city of Detroit and about miscommunications from dispatch.

Watch Thomas' statement to the court below:

The infant's mother, 26-year-old Janee Wright-Trussell, was charged with homicide and child abuse in this case.

Janee and I'Naya Wright-Trussell

The Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled the baby's death a homicide and the cause of death as suffocation. Multiple rib fractures were found in various stages of healing, as well as bruises on the child's bowels, liver, spleen and both lungs.

She later pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and first-degree child abuse. She was sentenced to 8 to 15 years in prison.

READ: Mother sentenced in 2015 infant death case where Detroit EMT refused to respond

Here is the Local 4 report from June 26, 2015:

DFD: Thomas refused to respond to scene

A supervisor ordered Thomas, a veteran medic, to get to the house where 8-month-old I'Nayah Wright-Trussell was not breathing and her mother was calling for help. Thomas was just around the corner on her pervious run a few streets east. She refused to respond to the scene.

I'Nayah Wright-Trussell

The 8-month-old baby was exactly 9 tenths of a mile away -- a two minute drive at normal speeds -- but Thomas took 6 minutes and then shocked dispatchers by telling them: "33 is in position on Pembroke around the corner from the scene."

"33, I'm going to need you to make that scene," said the Detroit Fire EMS supervisor. "You're going to have to make patient contact."

Thomas parked her unit on a corner a street away from the baby. She and her partner were in a SUV outfitted to be just like an ambulance to help medics get to people faster. But in this case, Thomas refused to go to the house.

911: "Uh, Romeo 33? Updated information that the child is not breathing. The baby was hooked up to an oxygen machine because it was premature. Romeo 33?"

Even with that information, Thomas and her partner didn't move.

911: "Romeo 33, Medic 51, be advised CPR is being performed on your scene. Romeo 33, Medic 51. CPR is being performed by the baby's mother."

Two internal investigations were conducted. The report reads Thomas told her boss, "I'm not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR, you know how these families get."

READ BACK: Detroit EMT refuses to help baby: Go inside the investigation

Stay with Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit for updates. 

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.