Residents upset as 2nd motion to add ambulance in South Whitley dies

SOUTH WHITLEY, Ind. (WANE) – Another chance at adding an ambulance to Whitley County was denied Monday. The motion died just as it did back in April. But the people who want to add the ambulance aren’t going to give up.

It was a packed meeting with a lot of high tensions and it wrapped up, the disagreements weren’t resolved.

The county refused to let NewChannel15’s Sara Schaefer film the meeting and Sheriff Marcus Gatton as well as Town Council President Randy Cokl disagreed with that. It was just another frustration they have with the commissioners just like the people who live in South Whitley do. “They should be very angry because three men sitting on a board in county are telling us what we can do in South Whitley and its unfortunate,” Cokl said.

“I hope the commissioners after today listen to what we have to say,” Janet Howard said.

Right now there are three ambulances through Parkview covering the county. Back in November, the town of South Whitley signed an agreement with Lutheran to add an ambulance and dispatch it through the Sheriff’s Department. County commissioners have road blocked it.

Town Council President Randy Cokl can’t figure out why other than possible conflict. “The board chairman George Schrumpf is on the Parkview board. One of the other commissioners, their son-in-law is head of the Parkview dispatch and of course one of the other commissioner, Don Amber, used to work for Parkview.”

Amber made the motion. No one would go on camera with NewsChannel 15 or give a comment other than Chairman Shrumpf who said he’s happy with the decision.

Sheriff Marcus Gatton called it a sad day. “I took an oath to provide public safety to Whitley County and the residents and I think this is well within the capability of being accomplished. All sides just need to put personal things aside and work it out.”

One paramedic who used to work for Whitley County EMS for 26 years before going to Lutheran said he is worried about the response times “I’ve served that community my whole career. Because I live there, I serve the community as a public servant and I have family there. I have friends there. So it’s a big concern,” Gary Hicks said.

The motion died of a lack of a second but that’s happened before and the commissioners were asked to bring it back up. Monday Gatton pleaded they reconsider.