NEW BRITAIN - A city woman who was allegedly involved in an altercation at the Hospital of Central Connecticut will be taking her case to trial instead of going into a program that would dismiss the charges.
Maritza Soto, 39, of West Street, told Judge Maureen Keegan in New Britain Superior Court Wednesday she did not want to take the program. A conservator, who was with her because of her difficulty to understand things, said Soto wanted to be found not guilty.
Keegan explained to Soto, her conservator and her attorney, public defender Tiana Hercule, that if Soto was undergoing a mental health episode at the time of the incident, she could be accepted into the program, which would dismiss the charges after completing two years of the program.
Hercule declined to say after the court appearance if a guilty plea would be needed to enter the program, but said generally a diversionary program is used to preserve someone’s record and therefore no guilty plea is entered.
Soto is accused of hitting two security guards at the hospital on Nov. 20, 2018 around 12:30 p.m. after she was brought to the Emergency Room by EMS crews and requested to leave to smoke pot, according to the warrant for her arrest. It could not be determined why Soto was brought to the Emergency Room.
When a security guard attempted to move her legs onto a stretcher to move her, Soto hit the man with an open hand, the warrant said. Another security guard tried to grab her upper limbs and he was kneed in the face, causing swelling and pain on his lips.
The guards were able to get control of Soto and place her into restraints, according to the warrant. Video footage reviewed by police corroborated what happened during the incident, and also showed one of the guards appearing to strike with a closed fist toward Soto’s face in an attempt to gain compliance. Police said the use of force by the security guards was necessary to control the patient and secure safety of staff and other patients.
Soto was charged with assault on health care personnel in the incident. The conservator said Soto became upset when she was touched during the incident. She was released from custody on $5,000 bond.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.