A South Glens Falls man who choked a registered nurse unconscious during a stay at Glens Falls Hospital last summer has pleaded guilty to a felony charge and been sent to jail and likely faces probation when he is released.
Miles A. Austin, 24, of Saratoga Avenue, will likely be sentenced to 4 months in Warren County Jail to be followed by a year on interim probation in connection with an attack on hospital staff last July 4. If he does well on interim probation, he will spend up to 4 additional years on probation. If not, he faces up to 7 years in state prison.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree strangulation in connection with an attack on a male nurse who was taking part in an “initial evaluation” when Austin was admitted to the hospital’s Behavorial Health Unit, court records show. The nurse was not seriously injured, but turned “blue” as he was choked from behind and dragged around a hospital room while losing consciousness.
According to sworn statements filed in Warren County Court, the attack played out as follows:
Austin had been admitted to the hospital but was combative, refusing to answer questions as part of the intake process, and screaming at staff “I shouldn’t be here.”
He left the evaluation room and was sent back to his room, but returned moments later and yelled “I’m not taking your medicine” before he grabbed RN Peter Valastro, who was seated in a chair with his back to the room’s door, from behind and put him in a chokehold.
Hospital staff wrote that Austin pulled the chair over and “dragged” Valastro around in the chair, with three hospital staff members intervening to separate the two, and calling for a “code grey” to summon security to the floor.
After Austin was pulled from Valastro, he began damaging unspecified equipment in the room. As part of his sentence, he will have to make an unspecified amount of restitution.
Austin was arrested by Glens Falls Police later that day. He was serving the jail term as of this week and will be put on probation after his release.
His lawyer, Warren County Public Defender Marcy Flores, said she had no comment on the case Wednesday.