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PATIENT FACES CHARGES IN ATTACK IN AMBULANCE

A Cheektowaga man being taken to the hospital with a drug overdose was arrested over the weekend on charges of assaulting two emergency medical technicians.

Rural/Metro Medical Services said the man, who had overdosed on cocaine and heroin, agreed to be taken for treatment but turned on the crew while the ambulance was on the Kensington Expressway.

Northeast District officers said Ernest Mata III, 30, of Union Road bit Leonard Joseph on the arm twice and attempted to stab him with a hypodermic needle containing Valium. He also kicked Sarah Hull, the driver, in the head, police said.

Officer James Hosking said the ambulance crew had gone to Mata's home after receiving a call at 4:45 a.m. Saturday.

Michael P. Hughes, spokesman for Rural/Metro, said Mata was unresponsive when the ambulance arrived and was given Narcan, an antidote for opiate drugs.

En route to the hospital, the man became more agitated and demanded more drugs or more Narcan, Hughes said.

The ambulance crew radioed for advice and received permission to administer Valium to calm the patient, Hughes said.

"As Joseph was drawing the syringe, the patient grabbed it and tried to stab him with it," Hughes said.

Just before they arrived at the hospital, where security personnel were waiting, Mata bit Joseph on the wrist, Hughes said.

"When the driver went around the back to help get the patient out, he kicked her in the head," Hughes said. "Then he reached over and bit Joseph's arm again."

Joseph and Hull were evaluated at the hospital but not admitted.

"A police officer has a weapon to defend himself, but not our people," Hughes said. "When a patient turns on them, they're defenseless."

Mata was charged with assault, menacing, criminal possession of a controlled drug and a hypodermic needle, and criminal injection of a narcotic drug.

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