Towanda man charged with aggravated assault after apparently taking bath salts
A Towanda man, who had apparently taken a large amount of bath salts, kicked an off-duty state trooper and bit an emergency medical technician during a recent incident in Ulster Township, state police said.
As a result of this incident, Darrin Lee Steele of Towanda has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Steele in Towanda District Court, state police said they were dispatched at 3:53 p.m. on July 25 to U.S. Route 220 in Ulster Township because there was a report of a nude man running on the road and almost being struck by vehicles on the roadway, which caused a danger to others and himself.
After arriving on scene, state police observed the 39-year-old Steele running around nude on the northbound and southbound lanes of Route 220, and saw him almost get struck by a southbound vehicle, which was a personally owned vehicle of Trooper Jeff Creedon. State police pointed an electronic stun device at Steele and ordered him to lie on the ground, and Steele obeyed the order.
But when police tried to handcuff him, he jumped up and tried to run away, which prompted the police to stun him, so that he would not escape and possibly injure himself or others.
After Steele was handcuffed, he began to "kick and shake around" in an attempt to escape, so Creedon tried to hold Steele's feet in place to prevent anyone from being kicked. At this point, Steele kicked Creedon in the arm, causing a cut to his arm, police said.
Then, "while attempting to place (Steele) in restraints so that he could be transported to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment and a mental health commitment and evaluation, he continued to fight with everyone on scene," including the EMTs, the complaint states.
At the scene, Steele also bit the hand of an EMT, Joshua Gardner of Ulster Emergency Medical Services.
Steele "was drive stunned by the stun device multiple times on the scene due to his violent behavior and his attempts to spit on personnel and his repeated attempts to kick police and medical personnel attempting to subdue him," the complaint states.
Steele was charged with recklessly endangering another person because he knew he had a communicable disease, Hepatitis C, when he kicked a state trooper, causing a cut, when he bit an EMT, and when he tried to spit on another state trooper, the complaint states.
"After approximately 30 minutes on scene, (Steele) was successfully restrained and placed in an ambulance" and transported to Robert Packer Hospital "for an apparent drug overdose of bath salts and a mental health commitment and evaluation," the complaint states.
"Upon arrival at the emergency room at Robert Packer Hospital, (Steele) continued to fight with (the state police), EMS personnel from Ulster Township and Memorial Hospital of Towanda and the staff of Robert Packer Hospital, the complaint states.
Finally, "the personnel of Robert Packer Hospital were able to introduce medication (into) the defendant that put him to sleep so he could be further treated by the staff of the hospital," the complaint states.
Steele was arraigned by Athens Magisterial District Judge Michael Shaw in July 31. Steele's bail was then set at $50,000.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.