- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for Chelsea District Probation Officer and Court Officers collaborated to save the life of a man overdosing
Coria Holland, Communications Director
Chelsea, MA — Chelsea District Court Probation Officer Erin Hudd received a tip that one of the probationers she supervises in Drug Court had overdosed which launched her quest to find him, get him into court before a judge and then into treatment.
Hudd received a tip on Friday, April 27, that the 22-year-old Drug Court participant, who has a penchant for running half-marathons when he is well, had overdosed. Upon hearing the news, she called him on his cell phone and he did not respond. She checked with the local police, friends, and family to no avail. She finally connected with him the next day and “talked him into coming into the court.” He got as far as the parking lot and Hudd, who was doing ‘front desk duty’ at the time, went with court officers and Assistant Chief Probation Officer Frank Russo out to the parking lot. Hudd coaxed him into entering the court.
"He (defendant) put together an amount of clean time. It was tough seeing him like that. We have a good Probation Officer/ client relationship. I can tell when he is doing well and when he isn't. I have seen the good parts of individuals. He was an avid runner. When he stopped running, I knew something was wrong," Hudd said.
After entering the court, the young man went into the restroom. Hudd went in search of the judge to request that the man be placed into custody. In the meantime, the man is alleged to have used drugs. Chief Court Officer Brian Nichols, Assistant Chief Court Officer Elliot Posada, and Court Officer Stephen D’Amato were notified. Upon entering the bathroom, D’Amato observed the defendant on his knees flushing contraband down the toilet. Posada and Nichols entered the restroom and placed the man in custody on a Violation of Probation warrant.
The defendant was taken to the holding cell area where the court officers monitored him and soon observed him showing signs of an overdose and becoming unresponsive. Nichols administered NARCAN. Posada began chest compressions and D’Amato administered rescue breathing. The court officers administered a second can of NARCAN which helped revive him and he was taken to the hospital. Hudd reports that the defendant was initially held but was recently placed in residential treatment.
This incident marks the fourth time this year within the state that court officers used Narcan to save an individual who was experiencing an opioid overdose in a courthouse. Court officers have been administering Narcan since 2015,” according to Jeffrey Morrow, Director of Security for the Massachusetts Trial Court.
“The incident at Chelsea District is the “31st recorded instance of the successful resuscitation of an overdose victim using Naloxone (Narcan). This number appears to be trending downward from last year’s total and three-year program high of 18 incidents,” Morrow said.
“From taking the initiative to bringing this individual into court to noticing their behavior in the building to checking and responding in the manner they did to save a life is extraordinary. It speaks to who these folks are as individuals and as professionals and speaks volumes to their commitment to their community,” said Probation Commissioner Edward Dolan. “It also reaffirms that the courts are very much on the front lines in this work.”
“If it were not for the collective efforts of all involved, this surely would have been a fatality,” said Judge Matthew Machera. “These quick and decisive actions by all are to be highly commended.”
"The actions taken by PO Hudd and ACPO Russo speak to the commitment and dedication the Chelsea Probation staff exhibits everyday while serving our probationers and the rest of the community. While this incident is out of the norm, PO Hudd's actions through her leadership in the Drug Court in collaboration with Judge Matthew Machera and the team have helped save the lives of many others," said Chelsea District Court Chief Probation Officer Carmen Gomez.