PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The former director of the now closed Elkhorn Ambulance Service will be spending time in prison after she pleaded guilty to stealing from the company.
The ambulance service suspended operations March 29, blaming the closure on the theft of tens of thousands of dollars by former director Mary Morton, 47, of Ashcamp.
Wednesday during a hearing in Pike County Circuit Court, Morton was sentenced to three years in jail after she earlier pleaded guilty to charges of theft and forgery.
Investigators and prosecutors estimate Morton stole at least $68,000 from the ambulance service, but they don't know the exact amount.
Morton was booked into the Pike County Detention Center after she was sentenced.
Elkhorn Ambulance Service shut down last week.
Just hours before the shutdown, Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says Trans-Star Ambulance Service started making plans to cover the area.
Elkhorn Ambulance served from Elkhorn City to Mouthcard, as well as Millard, Powell's Creek, Marrowbone and Rockhouse.
"I want to ease the minds of residents of the area served by Elkhorn Ambulance Service, that they will have ambulance service," Judge Rutherford said.
Judge Rutherford contacted agencies to expedite a Certificate of Need waiver to allow Trans-Star to serve in the area. That was granted Monday afternoon.
"We are working with Trans-Star to find a location in Elkhorn City to operate the ambulance service," Elkhorn City Mayor Mike Taylor said about making this a permanent answer to ambulance service in the area. "We are concerned about citizens who need ambulance service in Elkhorn City."
Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett said, "We were real concerned about the ambulance service for that area in case of an emergency in the coal mining and gas industry in the area or a natural disaster. Trans-Star has filled the need of emergency services before and they are capable of doing it again."
Judge Rutherford said the ambulance service of Pond Creek will continue to operate.