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N.Y. EMT Who Hung Noose as Prank in 2017 Suspended for DWI

Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

A former fire department emergency medical technician, once disciplined over an incident involving a noose hung in an ambulance, has had his driver's license suspended for driving while impaired.

John Thornton, 23, was sentenced Friday in Criminal Court to a 90-day license suspension and fined $300 stemming from a drunk-driving arrest on Aug. 5 in West Brighton.

Thornton was busted while off duty at about 4:18 a.m. at Oakland and Cary avenues, according to a statement from police and a criminal complaint.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said cops received a report of Thornton's 2008 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck swerving in the road.

Cops responded and pulled over Thornton.

Thornton's breath smelled of alcohol, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, his face was flushed, and he was unsteady on his feet, the complaint said.

"I'm sorry I had too much," the complaint quotes him as telling cops.

Thornton, who refused to take a breathalyzer test, was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and driving while ability impaired, a non-criminal traffic infraction.

Afterward, the fire department said in a statement that Thornton would be suspended without pay and faced additional discipline, up to and including termination.

The case was assigned to a special prosecutor from the Brooklyn district attorney's office to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

On Dec. 6, Thornton pleaded guilty in criminal court to driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired.

As of condition of his plea, Thornton completed a continuous 45-day alcohol-monitoring program called SCRAM, plus an individual driver's program with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, said a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office.

Consequently, at his sentencing on Friday, the misdemeanor conviction was dismissed, and the defendant was sentenced on the non-criminal driving-while-impaired infraction, the spokesman said.

Thornton's lawyer could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment.

Thornton resigned from the Fire Department in December, an FDNY spokesman said.
The Daily News reported Thornton would be eligible to re-apply to the EMS Academy a year after his resignation.

Thornton, the son of a retired FDNY chief, was at the center of a controversy in August of 2017 when he allegedly admitted to hanging a noose in an ambulance at FDNY EMS Station 22 in Sea View as a prank, the News reported.

Media reports indicated Thornton told police the noose was a joking reference to a male co-worker's recent break-up.

The FDNY hit Thornton with a 10-day suspension for the noose and extended his probationary period as a new EMT, the News reported.

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