Illinois paramedics strap patient face-down on stretcher, arrested for murder

Two paramedics in Illinois were arrested following fatal treatment of a patient. This was not an isolated incident in the region.

Chicago, Illinois (photo credit: ROMAN BOED FROM THE NETHERLANDS/CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)/WIKIMEDIA)
Chicago, Illinois
(photo credit: ROMAN BOED FROM THE NETHERLANDS/CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)/WIKIMEDIA)

Two Springfield, Illinois paramedics were charged with murder on Friday, a month after they were caught strapping a patient face-down on a stretcher.

Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 44, who were emergency medical workers for local Chicago EMS provider LifeStar, were charged with first-degree murder following the death of Earl L. Moore Jr, 35, on Dec. 18, 2022, local station NBC 5 Chicago reported.

Following an investigation, Cadigan and Finley reportedly incorrectly strapped Moore face down, forcing pressure on his back, neck, and chest. He had a strap held behind his back, only adding additional pressure to the injured man. Moore then died from compressional and positional asphyxia shortly after arriving at the hospital, NBC 5 Chicago reported.

Paramedics responded to a firearm-related call around 2am and found Moore practically unresponsive and unable to move. Body camera footage showed that the paramedics had practically walked him into his position in the ambulance, knowing he was incapacitated and "was not able to walk and medical personnel were not offering any assistance,” police said. 

 Paramedics Peggy Finley, left, and Peter Cadigan, right, are facing murder charges in Illinois after a patient died of positional asphyxiation shortly after he was taken to a hospital in December, according to court documents. (credit: Sangamon County Sheriff Dept) Paramedics Peggy Finley, left, and Peter Cadigan, right, are facing murder charges in Illinois after a patient died of positional asphyxiation shortly after he was taken to a hospital in December, according to court documents. (credit: Sangamon County Sheriff Dept)

Police suspected foul play, as the two paramedics had training that would tell them to act differently. "Based upon their training, experience and the surrounding circumstances, these such acts would create a substantial probability of great bodily harm or death,” Springfield Police Department released in a statement. 

Putting on a show

The actions of these two paramedics have made headlines across the states because of the performance seen in body camera footage by authorities. As police responded to a call of a hallucinating man, suffering from alcohol withdrawals, the paramedics entered the scene in a very different manner than their police partners.

The Washington Post reported that Finley yelled at the patient, exclaiming, “Earl, sit up. Sit up!” She had dragged him several feet before continuing her commands, and yelling as if he were able to respond - though she knew she was responding to an unresponsive patient. “I am not playing with you tonight!” she yelled.

The footage shows Moore struggling to breathe. Teresa Haley, president of NAACP Springfield, told the Illinois Times that “If this guy was already… having difficulties breathing, and then you put him on a stretcher facedown, I mean, it was hostile to see the video and how they treated him,” Haley said. “They literally threw his hands behind and just strapped him down. He couldn’t move if he wanted to.”

Moore's death has been compared to the death of George Floyd in 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis Police Department.