Franklin County coroner in court, arrested for operating his ambulance business without a license

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Elzie Malone turned himself in to the Russellville Police Department Tuesday Morning following a hearing on his case in regards to getting a business license.

Police arrested the Franklin County Coroner for continuing services in Russellville City limits without a license.

"Unfortunately Mr. Malone and Pleasant Bay [Ambulance Service] have continued to operate illegally in this county and so we're asking the court to give us an injunction to enforce the law,” explained Russellville City Attorney Roger Bedford.

Since 1999 Malone has operated his business out of Russellville with a license, and served the people of Franklin County. However, they made the decision to contract a county-wide service in August of 2014. That contract went solely to Shoals Ambulance Service, leaving Pleasant Bay ambulances to run only private calls.

Malone's Russellville city business license expired in January, but he has continued  running his ambulance service under a state issued license for Franklin County. He told the court he had attempted to apply for another license on multiple occasions, but has been unsuccessful.

In court, it was said that when the county offered a contract to Shoals Ambulance Service, the city adopted an ordinance mandating they only issue business licenses to an ambulance company who is contracted in. That is where Malone is stuck.

"I think you can tell he's being treated unfairly they put a license guy on that didn't know whether he should issue him a license or not, tell me he was treated fairly then,” said Malone’s Attorney, Billy Underwood.

Underwood pointed out an opinion issued in 1999 says the county cannot regulate private ambulance service. Malone said his ambulances have only been responding to calls related to Medicaid or Medicare, not 911.

"We cannot regulate private ambulance carriers, yet he's the attorney that writes the bill that says we have exclusivity for Shoals Ambulance Service," said Underwood. "I want to keep him in business."

They have filed an injunction to request more time to get expert testimony on what qualifies as a private service.

The case will resume on October 6.