DA reviewing hit-and-run charges against L.A. city assistant fire chief

Fortman (left) poses for a photo at a Dec. 6, 2018 the Los Angeles Fire Department promotion ceremony. Photo by Gary Apodaca.
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A representative with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors are reviewing whether to file charges Friday against an L.A. city assistant fire chief regarding an alleged hit and run in Santa Clarita last weekend.

“A case has been presented and it is under review,” stated Greg Risling, a spokesman for the D.A.’s Office, via email Friday.

The case presented against Assistant Fire Chief Ellsworth Fortman by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Wednesday was first reported Jan. 26 at approximately 10:30 p.m., near the intersection of David Way and Calhaven Drive.

“One vehicle had run into the back of a parked vehicle,” said Sgt. Scott Shoemaker of the SCV Sheriff’s Station Traffic Unit.

Shoemaker declined to give the suspect’s name, but said the suspect’s vehicle, after ramming into the victim’s vehicle, then pushed the vehicle 160 feet and up a driveway.

“It collided into a second parked vehicle,” said Shoemaker, adding that the driver then left the scene, but not before knocking over a light pole, as well.

Deputies then went to the alleged suspect’s home to check on his welfare. However, the driver “did not acknowledge the deputies,” Shoemaker said.

Deputies were able to locate what they believe to be the suspect’s vehicle involved in the suspected hit and run, then impounded the vehicle as evidence, Shoemaker said.

“It was a misdemeanor hit and run … it’s a property damage-type crime,” Shoemaker said. “And we presented it to the District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday, and it’s over at their office for review.”

No arrests have yet been made in connection to the incident.

LAFD administrator Tisha Williams confirmed Friday that Fortman was an employee for the department who works out of headquarters in the city of Los Angeles.

However, Williams said the LAFD was not commenting on the alleged hit and run.

“That incident took place outside of our service area,” Williams said.

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