Assaulted N.Y. EMS Providers Want Book Thrown at Suspect
Some two dozen angry, uniformed emergency workers came to Manhattan Criminal Court this morning to support a female fellow worker who'd been repeatedly choked in an ambulance -- allegedly by a drunken Brooklyn assistant district attorney.
The EMT workers -- and the victim herself -- said they were furious that Manhattan prosecutors have yet to seek a felony indictment against Michael Jaccarino, 30, who came to court today to learn his next court date, March 18.
"They told me basically that they can't prove intent because he was drunk," victim EMT Teresa Soler, 46, of Yonkers, told The Post after a sharply-suited Jaccarino left court without commenting to reporters.
"They say he can argue that he was so drunk, he didn't know what he was doing," she said. "I don't know what was on his mind, but when he was in the ambulance with me he flashed his ADA [Assistant District Attorney] badge," she said.
"In my opinion that means he knew what he was doing -- and thought he was going to get a free pass."
Prosecutors would need to establish that Jaccarino was acting intentionally to prove a felony charge of assault with intent to cause physical injury to an officer, the charge prosecutors initially sought when Jaccarino was arrested in November.
In court today, prosecutors would only say that a detailed, lengthy investigation is still in progress.
Jaccarino had allegedly been so drunk on the Brooklyn Bridge on the night of the incident, that an alarmed passerby called for an ambulance.
Soler said was alone in the back of the ambulance with Jaccarino when he became belligerent, removing his seatbelt and trying to escape -- even though the vehicle was still rumbling across the Brooklyn Bridge.
"He took his hand and he swung at me, and I flew back into a stretcher," she said. Jaccarino then jammed his forearm horizontally across her neck, she said. "The ambulance was still moving. I thought he was going to kill me. I couldn't scream; I couldn't even swallow."
When Jaccarino let go and tried to open the still-moving vehicle's back door -- apparently to flee -- she tried to hold the doors shut. "He would have killed himself," had he jumped out, she said.
She managed to radio dispatch -- screaming, "Have my partner stop the bus!" That's when Jaccarino grabbed her by the neck with both hands, and squeezed, she said.
"When my partner pulled over and opened the door, he still had his hands around my neck," she said.
Soler said she suffered bruises and swelling -- all photographed by Manhattan prosecutors -- and still suffers neck spasms.
Her fellow EMTs said after court that medics get assaulted on the job routinely -- by deranged perps who spit on them, bite them, choke them and punch them and typically face only misdemeanors and a few months in jail.
Kyra Neeley, 37, of Sunnyside, Queens, said she's been literally lifted off the ground by her neck in the back of an ambulance -- by a strung out man who'd been found unconscious on the floor of a subway station on 42nd St.
"He still got only seven months jail -- even though he was in violation of his parole at the time," said Neeley. On another occasion, a hostile drunk spat blood in her face, then refused to take a blood test to show if he had HIV.
"That was in 2008," she recalled. "I had to take a drug cocktail for a month, and I'm still getting tested twice a year for HIV," she said. Her attacker? "He was charged with a misdemeanor, and did four months."
Jaccarino has been suspended from his job; defense lawyer James Koenig said his client has been busy since his arrest working to help Hurricane Sandy victims in the Rockaways and Breezy Point.