Seth Collier's mother fighting to stop Ackerman from returning to job as firefighter

Lisa Purvis, Seth Collier's mother

The former Syracuse firefighter who was charged in connection to the hit and run that killed Seth Collier last March is trying to get his job back, a man tied to the case told Collier's mother.

Ted Ackerman is accused of unplugging a video recording device at the club parking lot where the car that hit 18-year-old Collier was found. The driver of the car — former Onondaga County District Attorney's Office investigator Peter Rauch — was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison back in November for striking Collier while intoxicated and leaving the scene without reporting it.

Ackerman pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence back in April. Six days later, city officials announced that Ackerman had been terminated from his position as a city firefighter. The Oswego County district attorney said in August that the case against Ackerman is currently awaiting action by a grand jury.

Now that he is trying for his old job, Collier's mother, Lisa Purvis, is speaking out for the first time since her son's death to try to stop it.

Purvis started an online petition. In just a few days, it has more than 400 signatures. She hopes to get more before next month when Ackerman is supposed to make his case for returning to the Syracuse Fire Department.

"Part of the oath that they take is to protect and serve. The only person he was trying to protect that night was Peter Rauch," Purvis said.

Police suspect Ackerman, a trained EMT, was in a car following Rauch.

"He left the scene of a crime. If you would have just picked up the phone and called 911 or even checked on my son to see if he was dead or alive, but he just kept on going," Purvis said.

Purvis said the inaction from a 13-year veteran of the fire department in this type of emergency situation is the reason she doesn't think he deserves a second chance to serve.

"It bewilders me...for real. Like I said, your job is to take care of people and help people in need and here you go leaving an 18- year-old on the side of the road," Purvis said.

In November, with her son's ashes in hand, Purvis had the chance to face Rauch in court. She said next month she'll be before Ackerman again, to speak against his wish to return to public service.

"I welcome to opportunity to meet face to face with Ted Ackerman because, again, he is no different than Rauch," Purvis said.

Ackerman's attorney and the firefighters union were both contacted by CNYCentral, but no response has been made yet.

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