WAVERLY, Iowa --- A bartender unhappy with his lot in life masqueraded as a paramedic to impress his girlfriend.
Christopher Hill, 24, of Waterloo, confessed to Judge Bryan McKinley on Monday that he carried a scanner to monitor emergency frequencies.
He described on one occasion assisting a Bremer County deputy; on another, helping firefighters at a car accident.
"I was trying to prove something to somebody that wasn't true," Hill said.
Law enforcement officials in Bremer County charged Hill with two counts of impersonating a medical care provider, a class D felony. Hill pleaded guilty to both.
"I basically represented myself as a paramedic," Hill said.
"Were these emergency situations?" Judge McKinley asked.
Hill admitted helping firefighters extricate a woman from a car in November. He stabilized her neck and helped carry the injured woman to an ambulance.
On Jan. 26, Hill said he responded to a business after hearing about an industrial accident. In that case, a worker suffered a serious leg wound. Hill said he applied pressure to bandages in an attempt to stem the bleeding.
"I was ashamed of the fact that I'm a former felon," Hill said. "I wasn't expecting it to go this far."
"And yet you put yourself in that situation, not once, but twice," McKinley said.
Authorities have alleged a third time as well.
Black Hawk County officials allege Hill on Jan. 29 impersonated a paramedic in Cedar Falls. According to the criminal complaint, Hill showed up at Walmart after hearing about a medical emergency on his scanner.
In that case, Hill allegedly attempted to render first aid to a person in some sort of distress. He was wearing a sweatshirt with the word "Paramedic" on the back and told witnesses he was a paramedic in Waverly, according to court documents.
The case in Black Hawk County is pending.
Hill's criminal record since 2005 includes felony convictions for third-degree burglary in Black Hawk County, according to court records. He also has misdemeanor convictions for theft in Black Hawk County and for trespass in Hardin County.
Hill said he had "some first aid training" but admitted Monday he was not a certified medical care provider.
Judge McKinley emphasized the serious implications of pretending to be a paramedic. Others involved in the emergencies relied on Hill to have certain skills, which he did not possess.
Hill wasn't surprised when he got caught, he said.
"It was still more important to look good in front of your girlfriend and your family?" McKinley asked.
McKinley noted the irony that with his actions Hill hoped to improve his reputation.
"It's worse than it was before, isn't it, Mr. Hill," Judge McKinley said.
Hill faces up to 10 years in prison. Bremer County Attorney Kasey Wadding and defense attorney Mark Milder, however, recommended a five-year suspended prison sentence.
McKinley ordered Hill to undergo a psychological evaluation as part of a pre-sentence investigation. Hill is scheduled to be sentenced April 11 in Waverly.