HILLSDALE, N.J. -- Whether a Hillsdale man is healthy enough to stand trial on charges of being under the influence of drugs when he caused a Westwood accident that cost a nurse his left forearm will be determined by a judge in Hackensack.
Michael Baba came to court last week under threat of arrest for a hearing that would allow Superior Court Judge James J. Guida to make his decision.
His attorney, Walter Schreyer, has attended several proceedings without Baba, obtaining adjournments, since the July 15, 2013 crash at the corner of Washington and Lafayette avenues.
A physician testifying for the prosecutor said Baba's hospitalizations have been from superficial infections.
“You treat those aggressively and they don’t recur,” Dr. Hormoz Ashtyani, who specializes in pulmonology and sleep medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center, told the judge. “He was never treated on an ongoing, chronic basis.”
Testifying for Baba, a physician who practices the same specialty at Chilton Memorial Hospital testified that Baba’s health was in peril.
Ailments include cardiac arrhythmia, Dr. John Penek said, adding that Baba should avoid stress.
“If he is on trial he’s not going to like it, so there will be stress,” Penek said. “And what if he’s convicted?”
The judge interrupted him: “Yes, and I have thought of that myself. But that isn’t the question facing us. The only question is whether he is medically able to stand trial.”
Assistant Prosecutor Martin Delaney has said that Baba “checks himself into the hospital for a day or two, then he is discharged for three, four days, then he checks back in" and "has a convenient pattern of being hospitalized when he wants to be.”
Baba is charged with reckless driving and being under the influence of cocaine when he ran a red light and his 2012 Toyota Camry rammed into a 2002 Ford Explorer driven by Niall O'Hagen, a nurse at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.
The force flipped O'Hagen's vehicle onto its roof.
Guida said he’ll rule on Oct. 19 whether Baba stands trial.
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