WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – A man who seriously injured a Westfield police officer during a traffic stop in May had his case continued until February.
Victor J. Guzman appeared in Westfield District Court Friday. His attorney, Richard Facchini, said he needed a continuance because he just filed his appearance that morning.
Facchini also represented Guzman at the defendant’s September 29 hearing, so it was not clear why he just filed his appearance more than two months later.
Assistant District Attorney Magali Montes told Westfield District Judge Philip Contant that she had given Facchini all discovery documents in September.
Guzman was released on $100 bail after being arraigned in May on charges of two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (his foot), disorderly conduct and failing to stop.G
Guzman, who was born in Puerto Rico, appeared in court on September 29 as scheduled for a hearing on the original charges and was arraigned on new charges of assault and battery with serious bodily injury, which had been filed via criminal complaint by the WPD, because of the extent of officer Megan Bartlett’s injuries.
Guzman was released on his personal recognizance after being arraigned on the new charges in September.
Guzman, 26, was arrested on May 17 shortly before 3 a.m. by officers Bartlett and William Cavanaugh, who stopped Guzman because he had allegedly been involved in a hit-and-run accident in West Springfield, according to court records.
Initially, Guzman failed to stop for officers and then pulled into the apartment complex located at 134 Union Street, but refused to identify himself, according to Cavanaugh’s statement of facts.
“The defendant was extremely agitated and was yelling and screaming creating a disturbance,” which roused residents from their homes, he wrote.
He was handcuffed, and as police were attempting to place Guzman into the police cruiser, he kicked Cavanaugh in the stomach, Westfield Police Capt. Michael McCabe said.
Bartlett then stepped in to restrain him and Guzman kicked her in the hand and head with a “shod foot,” according to McCabe and court records.
As a result of the assault, Bartlett sustained bruising around her right eye and her cornea was torn from that eye, according to court records.
Initially, Bartlett was out of work due to a dislocated finger, but soon her vision became blurry and she started experiencing severe headaches, McCabe said.
As doctors were trying to figure out what was going on, she was diagnosed with traumatic head injury, according to court documents.
While undergoing treatment for the head injury, Bartlett suffered classic signs of a stroke which resulted in paralysis causing impaired speech and motor skills, said McCabe.
Court records state: “she suffered a stroke like event that resulted in her losing her speech and not being able (to) walk.”
Bartlett is continuing to recover at home and has not yet been able to return to work, McCabe said Friday.
Guzman is due back in court on February 19.
Staff Writer Christine Charnosky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org