SANTA FE, New Mexico (KOAT) — A New Mexico woman facing a felony charge for coughing on a health care worker said she’s being wrongly accused.
The story came to light last week after that worker filed a criminal complaint with Santa Fe police.
“No reason to call the cops on me,” said Joy Ebel, accused of coughing on a health care worker.
Joy Ebel, a former teacher, is facing a serious charge after allegedly coughing in a health care worker’s face at the La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe. Per a complaint filed last week, the charge is battery upon a health care worker – a felony. A felony Joy Ebel told KOAT she never committed.
“I did not cough,” said Ebel. “I did not get in her face. I did not yell.”
Ebel said she was just taking her daughter to her doctor’s appointment earlier this month and never saw that charge coming. According to Ebel, she walked inside the waiting room at the La Familia Medical Center, because they said she had to accompany her daughter, who’s a minor.
“I was the only one in there,” said Ebel. “I did lift up my mask to breathe a little bit since I’m claustrophobic but I did keep my mask on over my nose.”
According to Ebel, she was advised to correct her mask and after the fourth time, they told her she had to leave. That’s when things escalated but Ebel said not the way the health care worker described it in the complaint.
“She said I was breathing on her nose to nose – that’s a lie I would like to see on video,” said Ebel. “She started to scream hysterically at me. I don’t know if she thought I was going to be hostile, which I was just trying to leave.”
If convicted, Ebel could face a $5,000 fine or up to 18 months in prison. As a single mom, who’s currently unemployed, both are concerning.
“I’m worried about not being there for my daughter,” said Ebel. “She’s a straight-A honor’s student. I’ve had her solid her entire life. She’s been a leader. So, she would do the suffering.”
Ebel hopes the health care worker drops the charge, but right now, she’s still due in court in January.
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