POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a 19-year-old man Saturday after he allegedly punched an air medical paramedic that was loading a patient into a helicopter for an air lift to a hospital.
Shane Allen Nelson, of Livingston, was arrested and charged with third-degree felony assaulting a public servant. He has since been released from the Polk County Jail.
According to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the alleged incident occurred at a landing zone that had been set up at the Soda Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 190 Saturday.
While the paramedics were loading a patient into a PHI Air Medical helicopter, the family members of the patient "rushed to the helicopter to express concerns for their loved one being transported," the press release stated. After the air medical paramedic pushed the patient's family members away from the helicopter for their own safety, Nelson allegedly punched the paramedic.
"Nelson believed that his family member was being pushed around and retaliated by striking the paramedic," the press release stated.
At that point, the first PHI Air Medical helicopter was taken out of service, and the patient was transferred to a second helicopter that was already on scene.
"Sheriff Hammack would like to remind the public that helicopters on the ground have many dangerous variables," the press release stated. "You never approach a helicopter in operation on the ground unless you have proper training or are being escorted."
In the press release, Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack also pointed out that communication under a helicopter in operation is typically done by hand signs or physically moving someone's body to where they need to be.
"Further, assaulting emergency personnel cannot and will not be tolerated.