Saugus resident and L.A. City assistant fire chief charged for suspected hit-and-run

Fortman (left) poses for a photo at a Dec. 6, 2018 the Los Angeles Fire Department promotion ceremony. Photo by Gary Apodaca.

A Saugus man and Los Angeles City assistant fire chief has been charged in connection to a suspected hit-and-run incident that occurred earlier this year.

Ellsworth Fortman, 54, was charged with one misdemeanor count each of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage and driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement released Wednesday.

“On Jan. 26, Fortman allegedly crashed into a parked car while driving his personal vehicle at an unsafe speed, prosecutors said,” Santiago said in the statement. “The defendant, a Los Angeles Fire Department captain, is charged with then fleeing the location of the crash and driving to his home, prosecutors added.”

The incident reportedly occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. near the intersection of David Way and Calhaven Drive, officials said at the time of the incident.

“One vehicle had run into the back of a parked vehicle,” said Sgt. David Shoemaker of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Traffic Unit.

Shoemaker added that the suspect’s vehicle reportedly hit the parked vehicle and then dragged the other vehicle 160 feet and up a driveway.

A second vehicle was struck and a light pole was knocked over as a result of the incident, as well, Shoemaker said.

Deputies then went to the 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.

If convicted as charged, Fortman faces a possible maximum sentence of one year in jail.

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