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Assault charges filed against woman after pregnant EMT is injured on the job


Rayetta A. Wiggs, 49, West Plains, has been charged with first-degree assault, resulting in injury or involving a special victim, and third-degree assault on a special victim after allegedly kicking a pregnant emergency medical technician (EMT) in the abdomen and lower back, and punching a second EMT.

The pregnant EMT suffered abdominal and lower back contusions and premature contractions, and had to take about a week and a half off of work as a result, according to a probable cause statement submitted to prosecutors by Howell County Deputy Timothy Gordon, who investigated the incident.

Gordon reported that at about 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 26, dispatch informed him law enforcement intervention was requested at a home where a woman was fighting with South Howell County Ambulance personnel. En route to the location Gordon was told the ambulance had arrived at Ozarks Healthcare and he could cancel his arrival at the home.

He later took statements from the victims indicating they had responded to a report of a woman having seizures and trouble breathing. When they arrived, the patient, identified as Wiggs, appeared to be having convulsions and was given Versed to help control the seizures. She reportedly then became hostile, screaming, cursing, and punching and kicking at first responders.

The pregnant victim stated she fell into a bathtub during the incident and her work partner came into the room to help with Wiggs, who became sedated enough to load into the ambulance before becoming combative again and punching the second EMT in the face before they secured her with straps. Wiggs reportedly remained violent after being told one of the EMTs was pregnant.

Both of the emergency personnel told Gordon it was their opinion that the suspect had ingested illegal substances that contributed to her actions.

On arrival at the hospital, Wiggs reportedly continued to attempt to fight staff members, and the first victim decided to be evaluated in the emergency room because she was 13 weeks pregnant and experiencing pain. She later provided Gordon with a copy of medical records that showed the extent and result of her injuries, including premature contractions.

Gordon was unable to speak with Wiggs at the time because she was sedated, but after she had been released from the hospital, the deputy went to her home to take a statement. Wiggs reportedly refused to speak with Gordon, told him to leave her property, and said she would be talking with attorneys.

Court records indicate in 2009 Wiggs was convicted of two counts of third-degree assault on a law enforcement or corrections officer, emergency personnel or utility or construction worker in a work zone; in 2012, she was convicted of third-degree domestic assault; and in 2018, she was convicted of distributing, delivering, manufacturing, producing or possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, deliver, manufacture or produce a controlled substance.

A $10,000-bond warrant was issued for Wiggs on Jan. 26, and bond was posted Monday, court records show. During an arraignment hearing held Thursday in the courtroom of Associate 37th Circuit Judge R. David Ray, she entered a plea of not guilty and stated her intention to apply for a public defender; records she she is next scheduled to appear before Ray for a counsel status hearing on Feb. 20.

The case is being prosecuted by Howell County Prosecutor Mike Hutchings and Assistant Prosecutor Heath Hardman.