Updated 06/18/2012 10:00 PM
State Trooper Says Protective Vest, Good Luck Saved His Life
A Wayne County teenager is undergoing a mental health evaluation after State Police say he attacked a New York State Trooper at a home in Sodus on Sunday night.
Trooper Eric Weingartner escaped serious injury. He says his protective vest and some good luck saved his life.
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Sometimes the best way to deal with stressful job is to leave work, at work.
"I've been doing this 13 years, and you deal with lots of calls,” said Erie Weingartner.
As a New York State Trooper, Weingartner's job is a little more stressful than most. That's something he was reminded of Sunday when responding to a call for a suicidal 14-year-old boy in the Village of Sodus.
"He wasn't acting suspicious. Just nodding his head yes to everything."
The teen's mother asked Weingartner to bring the boy to the hospital for treatment. He just needed to gather his things.
"As we were walking back to the residence, that's when he turned to me and stated 'things are about to get bad in three seconds.'"
Before Weingartner could grab the boy's hands...
"He came across my upper body and hit me in my upper left side with his right first."
Weingartner pushed him away and used his taser to get the boy under control.
"That's when I saw him with knife in his hand, so I put two and two together that he had just struck me with a knife."
The four-inch switch blade penetrated Weingartner's protective vest, but did not cut all they way through it.
“The vest did its job.”
Weingartner had a small cut, but knows it could have been much worse.
"We're talking a matter of inches and it could have been my throat, or a few inches to the left it could have been into my lungs, off my vest."
As scary as this was, investigators say this case is a good reminder of the dangers a police officer can face at even the most routine calls.
"You never know when a calm situation is going to turn and you’re going to be fighting for your life. It could be somebody with a knife, a gun; it can happen with a 14-year-old holding it or a 15-year-old holding it," said Investigator Doug Thomas, New York State Police.
Still shaken up, Weingartner's doing his best to move forward; frustrated, but happy to be able to come home to his growing family.
"I'm upset that I have a family and stuff and he tried to take that away from me, but at the same time I realize that he's a disturbed young man who needs help,” Weingartner said.
The 14-year-old was charged with attempted aggravated assault of a police officer. He's currently at Strong Hospital in Rochester undergoing a mental health evaluation.