JONESBORO, Ark. – As the sheriff’s office in Craighead County continues its investigation into the death of Israel Porterfield, NEA Report has learned more from a firefighter who was in the room.
On Tuesday, the Bay VFD released the report on the “medical run” Friday night in Lunsford. The report states Bay Volunteer Fire Department’s John Cook was right behind the first to arrive at the scene – Bay Police Department Sergeant Timothy Burns. The page over the radio was a person non-responsive but breathing. The dispatch was made at 4:18 PM. Crews left Bay VFD at 4:19 PM and arrived at 4:26 PM.
In Cook’s narrative, the report states Bay PD was already on the scene when he arrived. He entered the home and announced himself but no one was around. Noise emanating from the back bedroom led Cook to find the location of Israel and the others.
The first thing Cook noticed in his report was the officer trying to control Israel, who he also described as very combative. While Cook tried to help control him, Fire Chief Donnie Davis arrived and assisted the other two. Cook said as he tried to check the patient for injuries, the struggle continued. It was now three responders trying to control Israel.
The narrative states the officer and the person that appeared to be the patient’s father told Israel to calm down. He was told if he didn’t settle down, he was going to be tased. The taser was applied to the right side of the patient.
“PT Israel then became calm and laid down where Officer Burns was able to hand cuff his right arm,” Cook wrote. “We turned his head sideways to maintain airway. [Patient] then became noticeably distressed. Myself and Chief Davis turn patient over on his back where Officer Burns then moved the handcuff to the front side.”
Cook told NEA Report that at most, 20 seconds passed before Israel was turned from his stomach over to his back.
While another officer arrived, Cook said he felt a light carotid pulse. The report said as he was reaching for his medical bag and going to attempt to check pulse and oxygen, medics from Medic One arrived and took over care of the patient. Cook went to get the spine board and other supplies and returned to find Medic One personnel performing CPR on Israel.
Israel was moved from the room to the stretcher and as CPR continued, loaded into the ambulance. Cook rode with Medic One to the hospital while assisting in CPR efforts until they arrived at St. Bernards. Israel was pronounced dead a short time later.
On Tuesday, Cook spoke to a reporter. He couldn’t speak about the case aside from what his report said, but he did issue this statement:
“On behalf of myself and the Bay Fire Department, our condolences and prayers go to the family,” Cook said. “He was an inspiration. He was somebody that you could go to. He would encourage you. It’s a big loss for the EMS community. ”
To access the file obtained by NEA Report, click this link: porterfield medical run
The Craighead County Sheriff’s Office has assigned Sergeant Ron Richardson of CID to the case. Several sources indicate he was interviewing multiple people associated with the case Tuesday. The preliminary autopsy results are hoped to be back this week but toxicology reports, which authorities have indicated may yield information, could take months, Sheriff Marty Boyd said.