A 25-year-old man who claimed to have a panic attack just minutes before he was set to go to trial on nine separate cases in Washington Municipal Court was subsequently arrested by New Holland police at Fayette County Memorial Hospital.
Jeffersonville resident Derek J. Myers was listed on the municipal court docket to appear at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Myers’ nine open cases in the court charge him with minor misdemeanor and traffic violations for alleged offenses, including speed, failure to control, obstructing official business, reckless operation, and license and registration violations, according to court records.
According to records in all nine cases, Judge Victor Pontious denied Myers’ requests for continuances in the cases Nov. 22 and the trial appearances were set for Thursday. Myers met with (stand-in) Washington C.H. City Prosecutor David Owens at approximately 10:30 a.m. in the Washington Municipal Court and then took a seat inside the courtroom.
As Judge Pontious discussed cases with other defendants in the courtroom, Myers waited, and at approximately 11 a.m. two Washington Police Department officers, a Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and New Holland Chief of Police Jason Lawless took seats in the courtroom. At this point, Myers abruptly stood and ran out of the courtroom.
Fayette County EMS was called for Myers, who claimed that he was having a panic attack, and he was transported to Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH).
After Myers was discharged from the hospital a short time later, New Holland Police Department officer Brad Mick served him with a warrant for failure to appear in court on charges from Pickaway County.
An FCMH official called the WPD for assistance because Myers was reportedly causing a disturbance in the hospital. Two officers and Lawless allegedly restrained Myers, who was then transported and booked into the Pickaway County Jail Thursday afternoon. According to Lawless, a $275 bail was posted to the Village of New Holland’s mayor’s court. Lawless said in a phone interview that the number of cases pending against Myers is approaching 10 in Pickaway County.
As Myers was being transported to the hospital earlier in the day, officers Jeff Funari and Mathew Ellis of the WPD and the prosecutor went on the court record before Judge Pontious to discuss re-setting Myers’ pending cases in Washington C.H.
“This is my first exposure to this but I understand it is not the first time something like this has occurred,” said Owens. “The officers’ concern is, how are they going to get their cases resolved? He seems to have a panic attack whenever it gets close to some kind of resolution. I don’t know what to tell them, how there’s going to be any kind of resolutions.”
Ellis said he has spoken to other officers involved in some of the incidents and said, “I believe there’s several — approaching 10, I believe — traffic citations. I’m afraid this is a pattern and he will use a medical excuse not to be at trial.”
Pontious said, “I denied his request to postpone these hearings and he didn’t show up, and said he was in the hospital, and then he showed up here.”
“He asked for a continuance of the hearings today,” said Owens.
“He was here, he left for the panic attack in the squad,” said Ellis.
Owens said it was his understanding that Myers has eight similar cases in the court system in Pickaway County.
Pontious said the court will re-set the trial dates for the nine cases in the Washington Municipal Court and added that there will likely be a license forfeiture if Myers doesn’t appear.
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