This article was published on GoErie.com by Madeleine O’Neill on Feb 22, 2018
A U.S. Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty Thursday to involvement in a pair of off-duty crashes that left an 83-year-old man injured in January 2017.
The defendant, 45-year-old Norman A. Antuzzi, entered Erie County’s treatment court program, which diverts qualified defendants into intensive treatment and probation, with the plea. Judge William R. Cunningham immediately sentenced Antuzzi to serve five years and six months of probation, beginning with one month of electronic monitoring.
Antuzzi, of Millcreek Township, pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of accidents involving personal injury and a third-degree misdemeanor count of accidents involving damage to a vehicle in the crash, in which police said Antuzzi rammed two vehicles.
He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of DUI in an August 2016 incident in Edinboro.
Antuzzi is indefinitely suspended without pay from his local job with the U.S. Border Patrol, said his lawyer, Stephen Sebald. His employment status will be reassessed following the plea and sentencing, Sebald said.
Millcreek police charged that Antuzzi was driving a Subaru Impreza on Jan. 14, 2017, when he twice struck the rear bumper of a Honda Accord while both vehicles were traveling east on Young Road in Millcreek.
Police said Antuzzi then struck a Dodge Caravan, whose driver got out and approached Antuzzi’s vehicle and attempted to open the door. Antuzzi pushed the door into the driver, an 83-year-old man, knocking him backward, then turned his vehicle left and intentionally struck the man, knocking him to the ground and running over his left foot, police said. The driver and his wife were transported to Saint Vincent Hospital for treatment.
In the Edinboro incident, a patrolman charged that a vehicle driven by Antuzzi sped up to the police cruiser from behind, driving right up to the bumper, before passing the cruiser on the left. Testing showed that Antuzzi had a blood-alcohol content of 0.294 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The victims from the crashes were not present in court Thursday.
“No one is more shocked and appalled by my actions than me,” Antuzzi said.
As part of his acceptance into treatment court, Antuzzi received mental health and drug and alcohol assessments. He is receiving therapy for PTSD and is in treatment for alcoholism, according to information presented in court.
Sebald said the issues stemmed from Antuzzi’s time working in Arizona at the U.S. border with Mexico, where he witnessed several traumatic events.
“I will tell you, there’s two different people,” Sebald said in court. “There’s Norman Antuzzi when he’s sober and there’s Norman Antuzzi when he’s drunk.”