Police officers in Vernon decided to transport a stabbing victim to the hospital on the hood of a police patrol car late Thursday night after a brawl, according to law enforcement officials, who said the move may have saved the victim's life.
The unusual transportation was done in unusual circumstances: The hospital was only 300 yards away, ambulances were out on calls, the victim needed immediate medical assistance for a chest wound, and there wasn't enough room to lie down in the back seat of the police cruiser, where there were also protruding metal buckles, police said.
At 11:49 p.m. Thursday, police in Vernon, a town east of Hartford, received "several" 911 calls reporting a large fight near the intersection, according to a news release.
It was in the Rockville section of town near a barber shop and convenience stores.
Several officers were already around the corner investigating a reported burglary and arrived on the scene within 30 seconds. One of those 911 callers who lives in the building in front of the incident said in a phone interview today that she was still on the phone with a dispatcher when police arrived.
The caller said it was "horrific to see something like that in your driveway."
She added, "The police were there quickly, they did a great job."
Police said they found a 20-year-old man on the sidewalk in front of 22 Ward St. who had a stab wound to the chest. Officers, along with an ambulance technician, immediately began treating the victim’s wound, according to a news release.
A large group gathered around the scene and people started to become disorderly, police said. The scene quickly became "very chaotic," police said.
One neighbor said someone was banging on an orange recycling bin the town used to employ for collection. The neighbor said someone then yelled, "This is why you get stabbed."
All available officers from Vernon were called to the scene to assist and a call was made for surrounding departments to send backup, a news release states.
Officers from Manchester and from the State Police Troop C barracks in Tolland responded and South Windsor officers went on-call for other matters, Vernon police said.
Vernon police said the stab wound of the victim appeared very serious and the victim had lost a large amount of blood. An ambulance was called, but the only available vehicle was from Manchester, police said.
The victim was placed onto the hood of a police cruiser, and while an officer treated his wound, he was driven about 300 yards to the emergency entrance at Rockville General Hospital, according to a news release. Vernon police Det. John Kelley said the wound could have been fatal if the man were not transported on the cruiser's hood. The back seats are made of molded plastic with protruding metal seatbelt buckles and a bleeding victim who needs to lie down would not fit in there, Kelley said.
While officers were at the emergency room treating the victim and briefing the staff, several area residents had followed the cruiser to the emergency room, a news release indicates.
The crowd began disrupting the treatment of the victim and the emergency room in general, police said. Two men were told several times to leave but they continued interfering with the officers and emergency room staff, police said.
The two men were placed under arrest and transported to the Vernon Police Department, a news releases indicates.
The two charged were:
• Malcolm Atwater, 45, of 275 Burnside Ave., East Hartford.
• Generio Jones, 21, of 11 Lawrence St., Vernon.
• Both were charged with Interfering with an officer, second-degree breach of peace and second-degree rioting.
• Both were held on $10,000 surety bonds and were to appear in court on Friday.
The stabbing victim was later transported to Hartford Hospital by ambulance and was listed in serious but stable condition, according to the news release. Police identified him as Robert Haskell, 20, of 108 Main St in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor.
Police said the suspect in the actual stabbing fled the scene. Police said the victim charged at him during an altercation and was assaulting him. The suspect then pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the chest, police said. The stabbing victim at first began walking away, but then collapsed when he realized he had been stabbed, police said.