WAVERLY, Iowa --- Judge Christopher Foy weighed several factors Monday before sentencing a young man who admitted twice posing as a paramedic in Bremer County.
At 24, Christopher Hill is relatively young and could yet put his communication skills and intelligence to better use, Foy said. On the other hand, pretending to have medical training and tending injured people might have ended in tragedy.
"What you did could have turned out very badly for the folks in those situations," Foy said.
Hill in February pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating a medical care provider. Bremer County authorities filed charges after Hill showed up at a car accident and at an industrial accident claiming to be a paramedic.
He learned about the incidents by listening to a police scanner. He wore uniform pants and on at least one occasion a shirt with the word "paramedic" printed on the back.
In reality, Hill worked for Barmuda as a bartender.
"I did understand what I was doing was wrong but didn't think of it as a criminal offense," Hill said Monday.
Judge Foy also noted Hill's criminal record, which includes a felony conviction for third-degree burglary. The Oskaloosa Police Department in July 2006 also charged Hill with impersonating a public official, an aggravated misdemeanor. He admitted guilt a year later as part of a plea bargain, according to court records.
In that case, Hill received a two-year suspended prison sentence and was ordered to serve two years of probation.
"He continues to violate the law," Bremer County Attorney Kasey Wadding said.
On Monday, Hill received two suspended prison sentences not to exceed five years. Judge Foy also ordered Hill to stay in jail until space is available at an Iowa Department of Corrections residential facility, possibly in Waterloo. Hill will stay there for at least 180 days.
Hill's legal troubles will continue for a while longer, however. He is charged in Black Hawk County with committing prohibited acts as a noncertified medical provider. He was arrested Jan. 31, 2011.
In that case, Hill allegedly responded to Walmart in Cedar Falls and attempted to help a person suffering a medical emergency.
"What happens in Black Hawk County is beyond my control," Foy told Hill.
But the judge wished him well.
"You have something to offer. It's a matter of you staying focused on how you're going to use those talents," Foy said.
Hill previously said he pretended to be a paramedic to impress his girlfriend and relatives.
"I think his family has essentially turned its back on him. His plan to improve his reputation has essentially backfired," defense attorney Mark Milder said Monday.