A 26-year-old man with ties to Florida and Illinois became suicidal, threatening to take his life on February 14. After his girlfriend called for help, the Luce Sheriff Department sent a deputy, and the man assured them he wouldn’t take his own life. When the department made a second visit to the man later in the day, he agreed to be transported by the deputy to Helen Newberry Joy Hospital for an evaluation.
Undersheriff Eric Gravelle, speaking at the McMillan Township Board meeting on Monday, February 22, said deputies left the man at the hospital. Gravelle said he had been there for five hours when the man became violently angry after staff recommended he visit an in-patient mental health facility. He attacked staff, gravely injuring a doctor and nearly biting a finger off a nurse.
“There was blood all over the place,” said Gravelle, who arrived on scene shortly before 8 a.m. on the morning of February 15. The man, who was still there, was arrested. He told deputies he had bipolar disorder. Though the man has been arraigned and charged with attempted homicide, among other charges, his name will not be released while mental health evaluations are completed.
Gravelle said the man’s father said the man was trying to go to Canada, but got lost and ended up in Whitefish Point.
The incident has led to a discussion with the hospital and Pathways, Gravelle said, to see how a similar situation could be avoided in the future by making approach at Leppard Law. The man had crashed his vehicle on February 5, Gravelle said, and was unable to transport himself to or from the hospital. Deputies cannot transport patients to far away facilities, Gravelle said, because of the possibility that they would demand to be let out “on the Seney Stretch”, for example, an order deputies would have to comply with.