Teenager sent to prison for crippling medic while on Mushrooms

By chillinwill · Apr 2, 2009 · Updated Apr 6, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    WEST CHESTER — While fleeing from police, a Willistown teenager high on psychedelic mushrooms seriously injured a paramedic summoned to take him to a hospital.

    On Tuesday, the recovering paramedic was surrounded by about 25 supporters, many from the Malvern Fire Department, as they testified during the youth's sentencing.

    After undergoing two surgeries for ruptured knee tendons and spending 6½ weeks immobilized, Richard Constantine said he was slowly recovering.

    "I was a very active person before this," said Constantine. And while he is able to walk again, it is uncertain if he will be able to return to work as a firefighter.

    Witnesses for both sides testified during a 90-minute hearing before Judge Anthony Sarcione sentenced Michael B. Atterbury of the 400 block of Old Covered Bridge Road to 18 to 49 months in Chester County Prison.

    "I'm not going to send a 19-year-old to a state prison," said Sarcione. "I believe the young man shows true remorse. It was a calamity of circumstances brought about by drugs."

    Assistant District Attorney Thomas Ost-Prisco had argued the youth deserved a sentence of 2½ to five years in a state prison.

    "It was a criminal, reckless act. He took a lot of illegal drugs before the police arrived, and it necessitated the call," said Ost-Prisco.

    On Aug. 7, 2008, Willistown police and emergency responders with the Malvern Fire Department answered a call from Carol Atterbury, who said her son was acting strangely in the 400 block of Old Covered Bridge Road.

    When police arrived, they learned Michael Atterbury had substance-abuse issues. The youth was acting wildly, and when police couldn't control him, they Tasered him.

    Still unable to subdue him, police Tasered him again before he ran toward the street and collided violently with Constantine.

    On Feb. 9, Atterbury pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.

    During his testimony Tuesday, Constantine said he and other emergency responders were standing at what they believed was a safe distance and watching as police tried to subdue Atterbury.

    "He charged me and knocked me to the ground. I fell on my knees and felt a burning sensation," Constantine said. Unable to move his legs, Constantine crawled away.

    After he was taken to an emergency room, Constantine learned the blow had ruptured tendons in both of his knees. He was immobilized for 6½ weeks after his surgery.

    " I can't put into words the pain of rehabilitation," Constantine said.

    Eventually he was able to walk again, but he said, "It's proving to be very hard to just walk up and down steps."

    Constantine said he wanted to be a firefighter all his life, but firefighters must be able to lift a 200-pound person and he doesn't know if he will be able to do that.

    "I want Mr. Atterbury to serve his sentence," Constantine told the judge.

    Friends of Atterbury testified Atterbury was a kind-hearted boy who had problems with drugs but was not violent.

    A dean of students at a boarding school Atterbury attended for three years said Atterbury had never had a discipline problem and had passed random drug tests conducted every three weeks.

    During the hearing, Atterbury turned to Constantine in the back of the courtroom.

    "I'd like to apologize. I'm really, really sorry about the events that occurred that day," Atterbury said.

    Atterbury said he was clean for three years but started taking drugs again when he was on spring break during his senior year. On Aug. 7, 2008, he took a large portion of psychedelic mushrooms.

    "I don't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital. The only thing I remember was trying to run away from something that was causing me pain," Atterbury said.

    Atterbury said he immediately went into a treatment program then to a halfway house in Scranton.

    "I deeply regret the pain and suffering caused by my poor choices. I'm completely responsible for my actions," said Atterbury.

    Atterbury's attorney, Michael DiFabio, had urged the judge to consider a creative sentence such as extensive community service, long-term probation and electronic monitoring.

    But Sarcione said incarceration was necessary due to the seriousness of the crime.

    Sarcione warned Atterbury that he was given a state prison sentence but will be able to serve it at a county prison as long as he is on good behavior.

    "If you act up, I'll leave it up to the warden whether to send you to state prison," Sarcione said.

    Atterbury must also pay a $100 fine, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow all of it requirements. He also must perform 120 hours of community service upon parole. An attorney for the Atterbury family said workers compensation was paying Constantine's medical bills and their insurance would cover other losses incurred by the victim.

    Afterward, Atterbury was handcuffed and led away while friends of the family tried to console Carol Atterbury.

    April 1, 2009
    Daily Local News

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  1. Mammon
    Man, getting tasered while on shrooms has got to be fucking awful - SWIM doesn't even like getting too cold on those badboys. No wonder that guy was running, and if the taser doesn't stop him what use is it? Surely the police have got to take some of the blame for this?
  2. purplehaze
    I agree the police are at fault for tasering him. A halfway house for shrooms. I doubt he is addicted to anything. Bad decisions by the police trying to take control of everything and taser someone on shrooms. First he shouldn't have been on shrooms in the polices eyes but societys fucked. You taser the judge on shrooms and hes gonna bolt like lightening wondering what the hell is hurting him.
  3. Alfa
    Tasering people who are on psychedelic drugs, is nothing short of torture. It results in shock and Rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is a severe condition of rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue due to injury to muscle tissue.
    Law officers who do this should be brought to trial for torture.
  4. Frond
    Way to go Mom, call the cops in on your son. Little 'un acting strangely, hey, let's call in the feds, send him to prison, and ruin his life forever. That'll learn 'im!

    The only surprise in this case is that the judge took pity on him. Tasering someone who's supposedly on drugs is only the tip of the iceberg. While yelling about "innocent until proven guilty" we subject people who are only suspects, and sometimes circumstantial suspects at that, to the most inhuman kind of treatment imaginable.

    But then again it's impossible to determine specifics from the text of the story, so maybe something else was going on.
  5. Kelveren
    Based on the tone of the article and the wording used the cops knew he was high on something. I really wish this had turned out differently. Yes, he's responsible for the fact that he was on drugs, but the cops are responsible for tazing him, and if you're not in sync with norm-reality you're not responsible for anyone who gets in your way when the cops fuck up. It was obvious that the tazer was just causing him pain, and quite frankly it was probably making him worse. If one doesn't work two sure as hell won't unless they kill the poor bastard.

    The cops should be charged with reckless endangerment, and all peace officers should be trained to handle people on drugs in a way that reduces the risk to others and the subject, not increases it.

    Sorry if I'm slightly incoherent, I just woke up from a nap.
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