Most Charges Dismissed Against Hypoglycemic Man Who Fought Responders


 
 

Edward Lewis | | Friday, January 18, 2008


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Two paramedics and an EMT said they tried to help Mitchell David Onzik when he suffered a diabetic emergency at his Edwardsville, Pa., home Nov. 10.

Onzik didn't respond to medications to raise his blood sugar and became aggressive, paramedics Sharon Hulse and Triscia Jones said.

Edwardsville EMT Marlene Wydawski said she was punched in the face and head, and kicked in the legs. Edwardsville officer Michael Lehman said he suffered a serious knee injury when he attempted to restrain Onzik.

The seriousness of the assaults led to Onzik being charged on Dec. 17 with three counts of simple assault, three counts of disorderly conduct, and one count each of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest.

After a preliminary hearing in Central Court on Wednesday, District Judge Paul Hadzick ruled there wasn't enough evidence showing Onzik intentionally assaulted Hulse, Jones and Wydawski, dismissing most of the charges.

Hadzick did bind one count each of simple assault and disorderly conduct against Onzik over to Luzerne County Court. Those charges relate to the alleged assault on Lehman, who was out of work for six weeks with the knee injury.

Hulse and Jones testified that diabetic patients who are hypoglycemic -- those who suffer low blood sugar -- are known to be agitated, combative and confused.

But, Onzik didn't respond to medications the paramedics administered to him to raise his blood sugar.

"We gave the patient (Onzik) medications and waited for the medications to take effect, but there was no change," Hulse testified upon questioning by Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts.

Hulse said Onzik's blood sugar was 29 milligrams, which, she said, was "considerably low." Normal blood sugar is 80 to 120 milligrams, Hulse said.

Hulse said she suffered numerous bruises on her body, and Wydawski said she suffered injuries to her face and head.

"He was fighting even after given the medications that should have calmed him down," Wydawski testified.

Lehman said he entered the home and saw Onzik sitting on a couch flailing his arms at everyone. Lehman said he yelled at Onzik to calm down when he was punched in the chest.

Onzik rolled on top of Lehman injuring Lehman's knee during a scuffle.

Onzik's lawyer, Michael Kostelansky, asked Hadzick to dismiss all the charges, arguing Hulse and Jones --witnesses for the prosecution -- testified that diabetics suffering hypoglycemia are confused and aggressive.

Roberts responded by arguing Onzik didn't respond to medications as expected.

Hadzick determined that Onzik didn't intentionally assault the paramedics who are trained to help people in need.

Onzik is scheduled to be formally arraigned on the simple assault and disorderly conduct charges on March 20.


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