Managing Editor's Note: You can follow this story by Robert Medley at NewsOK.com. Autism deserves proper medical care.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY Published: April 12, 2010
An autistic man who has seizures was jailed last week for combative behavior in a hospital emergency room but will not face felony charges, a prosecutor said today.
Stephen B. Puckett, 28, of Oklahoma City, was arrested April 5 at OU Medical Center. Two medical center police officers said Puckett kicked one officer in the knee twice while he was being handcuffed and scratched another officer on the arm, according to a probable cause affidavit.
His violent fit was a result of a neurological disorder, the family's attorney said this morning. Puckett spent three days in Oklahoma County jail, where his condition deteriorated, said Tracy Nester, an Edmond attorney.
Puckett will not be charged with assault and battery on a police officer, said Scott Rowland, first assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County.
Rowland formally declined this morning to file felony charges requested by OU police after the emergency room incident.
"This is just one of those tragic cases where a guy who belongs in the mental health system winds up in the criminal justice system," Rowland said.
Mary Ann Puckett, Stephen Puckett's mother, said her son has severe autism and had seizures on the weekend of April 3. On April 5, Stephen Puckett was violent at the hospital when police officers arrested him and took him to jail. He has often become violent when he has seizures and has had the condition since he was an infant, Mary Ann Puckett said.
She said her son was taken to a crisis center after being released from jail Thursday. She said arrangements were being made for her son to be admitted to a hospital in Ada this afternoon.
OU campus police and hospital officials could not be reached for comment this morning
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