Former Etowah County rescuer charged in death of squad member
GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A former leader of the Etowah County Rescue Squad is charged in the death of a member who was killed during a rescue operation.
The sheriff’s office says 49-year-old Michael Ervin Bettis of Gadsden is charged with a misdemeanor count of criminally negligent homicide.
Authorities say Bettis was the squad captain when a member died on April 25 after a boat capsized during a recovery operation.
Officials at the time said 46-year-old Vicky Houston Ryan was killed after being swept out of a boat that was swamped by water after getting too close to a dam on Big Wells Creek in Gadsden.
Squad members were looking for a kayaker who was presumed drowned.
Court records aren’t yet available to show whether Bettis has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.