Questions swirl around hospital employee who drove wrecked vehicle to Memorial

kcarlson@modbee.comMay 14, 2014 

A man who drove a truck on two rims to Memorial Medical Center on Sunday was a hospital employee and appeared to be intoxicated, said a Modesto resident who videotaped him.

Stephen Boski said he and his fiancée first saw the Toyota Tacoma pickup on Briggsmore Avenue, near Roselle Avenue, about 6:30 p.m. It was swerving on and off the shoulder of the roadway. They kept an eye on the truck, which appeared to have been in a crash, and figured the driver was taking himself to the hospital when the vehicle turned into Memorial’s parking lot at Briggsmore Avenue and Coffee Road.

The tires had been torn off the front and back rims on the right side. After the driver got out, “I asked him if he needed help,” Boski said. “He was slurring his speech and said, ‘I will worry about the (damaged truck) in about 12 hours when I get off.’ 

Boski said the man was wearing scrubs and an employee badge. He evidently was arriving for work at the hospital.

Memorial has not said much about the hospital worker since Boski’s video was broadcast by a Sacramento news station this week. (Click here for the video).

Boski said he saw “RN” in large letters on the employee’s badge, suggesting the man works as a registered nurse. On the video, another hospital worker who came out to look at the truck speculates the driver is a “traveler nurse” because the truck has Alaska license plates.

Wednesday, a Memorial spokesman would not say what the man’s job was or where he worked in the hospital. A statement released by Memorial said: “While we do not comment with names or details on personnel issues, we can say ... we dealt thoroughly with this particular personnel issue and this individual no longer works at Memorial Medical Center.”

The hospital credited staff “for taking an active role in addressing this matter and taking steps to protect our patients.”

Hospital spokesman Craig Baize would not confirm whether or not the employee was a nurse who cared for patients. “We cannot comment on more specific details about this individual,” Baize said via email.

Boski said the noise from the truck riding on rims caused other employees to come outside the hospital to investigate. Boski said he did not read the man’s name on the badge. The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles does not release names of vehicle owners based on license plate numbers.

“I told the employees he needed to be checked out,” Boski said. “There was no way he would have walked into the hospital and fooled anybody by the condition he was in.”

Boski suspected the truck had been in a hit-and-run crash. Besides the exposed rims, the extended-cab pickup had a large smudge on one side.

Modesto police Lt. Brian Findlen said an investigation did not link the truck with any hit-and-runs in that vicinity or during that time frame Sunday. “We also looked through previous (crashes) and calls for service and did not find anything associated with that vehicle,” Findlen said.

Three days after the bizarre incident, Boski said he was glad he followed the truck and alerted hospital employees about the man who was arriving for a shift on Mother’s Day.

“It makes me question how serious people take their professional responsibilities. With something as critical as health care, what kind of service are we getting for the costs we are paying?” Boski asked.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or (209) 578-2321.

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