MARTINSVILLE – An Indiana paramedic lost her job after police say she stole medication from her ambulance and substituted a saline solution for painkillers.
Amber Nicole Sutton, 30, Greenwood, faces three counts of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a syringe and theft. In addition to the felony charges, she faces an additional misdemeanor count of possession of paraphernalia.
According to court documents, a co-worker noticed certain medications were missing on April 12, including two Morphine Nitrate vials and three Fetanyl vials. The co-worker notified his supervisor and the dispatch center. He then recalled that Sutton had been in the ambulance replacing equipment and thought her behavior was “abnormal” earlier in the day.
When the co-worker returned to the Rural Metro station on Amanda Avenue in Martinsville, he asked Sutton what she’d been doing in his ambulance and why she’d been in his narcotics box. He asked Sutton and another co-worker to help him look for the missing drugs.
After searching for a couple minutes, Sutton left the ambulance and came back with the missing vials, saying “they must have gotten her narcotics and (the co-worker’s) narcotics mixed.”
Police arrived shortly after that to take statements from everyone involved.
Police checked Sutton’s purse, finding two syringes that contained a clear liquid. Those syringes were sent to the Indiana State Police Laboratory for testing. They also found a pill bottle for Hydrocodone, although police later identified the pills as Clonazepam, a schedule 4 controlled substance. Another pill bottle was empty and had someone else’s name on it. Sutton told investigators that the bottle belonged to a patient who had left it behind.
Police said it appeared that Sutton tampered with all five vials that had disappeared from the ambulance. All the bottles had glue on the outside. Police then searched her vehicle, finding a “sealed bag of Sodium Chloride 1000 ML unused and 4 B-D 25 G needles along with a precision glide needle.”
Police asked a Rural Metro manager if the company wanted to press charges, and the manager responded that she wanted to. Sutton was taken to the Morgan County Jail.
Rural Metro employees called investigators back after finding that nine additional vials had been tampered with.
After Sutton’s arrest, Rural Metro fired her. In a statement, the company wrote, “Our objective is to ensure all policies, procedures and regulations with respect to controlled substances are followed. We take this matter very seriously and will continue to cooperate fully with authorities on this investigation.”