LAKE CITY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The FOX 5 I-Team catches a local ambulance service using unlicensed workers instead of real medics to transport patients. And one of them carries a disturbing past.
By law, every ambulance in Georgia must be staffed by two state-licensed medics to make sure they can properly care for the patient.
One of the regular drivers for Members EMS in Lake City is not in the state medic database. But he does show up in another one: the database for registered sex offenders.
The FOX 5 I-Team watched Larry Bass, Senior, making the rounds across metro Atlanta. He drove a Members EMS ambulance, transporting patients back and forth to dialysis clinics.
According to court records, Bass admitted kidnapping a woman late one night in the 1980s and raping her outside an Atlanta school. At the trial, prosecutors produced other documents showing earlier arrests on other sex-related charges. He served 10 years in prison.
We asked the deputy director of the Office of EMS and Trauma if someone on the sex offender registry could get a license to be a medic in Georgia.
"No," replied David Newton. "No, they could not."
The FOX 5 I-Team walked up to Bass as he guided an empty stretcher back to his ambulance.
"Why are you working without a license, Larry?"
"I'm not working," he replied.
"You're not working? Looks like you're working. You just carried in a patient to this dialysis clinic here."
State regulators were stunned.
"You can't just go pick someone off the street and let them drive your ambulance," Newton explained. "Our rules require that there are two licensed personnel on every ambulance in the state of Georgia."
Yet Bass wasn't the only Members EMS worker we discovered working without a state medic license. According to a December police report, one of their ambulances was hit by a car while transporting a patient. The ambulance driver? Larry Bass, Junior, son of Larry Bass, Senior. Also a convicted felon.
Timothy McKnight is the owner of Members EMS. He refused to answer any of our questions.
"No comment," he replied as we approached him outside a dialysis clinic. "This is not the issue. This is not the place to talk about that."
He failed to respond to a later voicemail message.
It's not like McKnight didn't know Bass, Senior was running calls. We saw him working directly with Bass.
We brought our surveillance video to state regulators.
The next day they hand-delivered two letters to the owner of Members EMS, revoking McKnight's individual EMT license and ordering the company to cease operations immediately. McKnight has filed an appeal.
Regulators say McKnight admitted using unlicensed personnel on his ambulances at least "10-20 times" and operating two unlicensed ambulances "around 10 times."
"We take allegations like this very seriously because obviously part of our role is to protect the public's health," stressed Newton.
A woman who claimed to be a Members EMS administrative assistant sent an email later saying Bass was a family friend of the owner and that McKnight was "unaware of Larry's past."
McKnight may also face even more trouble from Medicare. Their rules also require two licensed medics on every trip, even for dialysis.