The Accidental Attempted Murder
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because bad things happen to good people. All the time.
By Scott Rozell
I was 22 years old and living in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. A band I played with had been scheduled to perform at a Battle of the Bands event, but we had to cancel due to van troubles. It was a bummer, and my bandmates and I all went our separate ways for the evening.
Shortly after I got home, a friend called and told me that a mutual friend was in town for the night and wanted to hang out. They were already at a bar, so I agreed to come meet them.
I lived about six blocks from the bar, so I walked there. I’ve lived downtown for years, and in this area for a good part of my life, so I’m used to walking around there.
They then dragged my body off the sidewalk and into the street. They positioned my head on the edge of the curb.
I had two drinks at the bar and hung out with my friends for about two hours. I had to work in the morning, so I decided to head home.
I walked up Fourth Street since it was pretty much a straight shot to my place. At one corner I passed a bar. Security was standing outside with a couple of men, one of whom shouted at me as I walked by.
“Do I know you?”
I stopped and looked at the guy. Didn’t recognize him. Like, at all. I had never seen him before in my life.
“Sorry, man, I don’t think so.”
He had a drunken stagger and slurred speech, so putting two and two together, I figured security had eighty-sixed him. I kept walking. It was approaching 1 a.m.
I made it about another 75 feet. That’s all I remember.
When I briefly regained consciousness, it was to flashing police and ambulance lights and what felt like an entire roll of paper towels pressed on my face. There were about six or seven people surrounding me and holding me down.
“Don’t get up! Just stay there!”
When I came to again, I was in an ambulance with the siren blaring and a paramedic sitting next to me.
“Do you have a cellphone? You’re losing a lot of blood; we need to contact your parents. What’s your mom’s number?”
I remember that I could barely speak but managed to get out, “Don’t call my mom.” The other paramedic put a mask over my face. I don’t remember anything else until I got to the hospital.
When I finally regained consciousness, I was being wheeled into a room and hooked up to some IVs. I didn’t feel any pain, but when I looked down, I saw my clothes were covered in blood, from my socks and shoes to the hooded sweatshirt I was wearing. The blood had even soaked through the hoodie and into my T-shirt.
“Is this all from me?”
“Yes,” the doctor said. Then, the two paramedics and two city police officers and a detective walked into the room. My sister showed up as well.
I hadn’t seen my own face yet, but the look on her face when she walked in and saw me said it all: It wasn’t good.
The police told me that, based on the accounts of two eyewitnesses, the two drunks who had been ejected from the bar I passed had snuck up behind me and hit me on the back of the head with a brick.
I had dropped to the ground, out cold.
They then dragged my body off the sidewalk and into the street. They positioned my head on the edge of the curb and stomped on my face twice, breaking it wide open.
From there, they stomped my face into the curb and then proceeded to kick me in the head so the back of my skull smashed into the curb. They kicked me in the ribs and back as well.
Then they left me there as a red Honda pulled up, collected them and drove off.
When the police explained this to me, I started to laugh. I think it was because of the painkillers I was on. The police were clearly confused by my reaction, but I didn’t know how else to react. I was happy to still be alive, and after surgery, some facial skin grafts, lots of stitches, a couple of bones snapped back into place and several follow-ups with doctors, I was as good as new.
Or so I thought.
I have a couple of scars on my face. I still get bloody noses at random times, and will for the rest of my life — a bone fragment that didn’t heal properly is just kind of floating in there. None of this, though, is really that big of a deal.
What does bother me? Personality changes. At first, I was so thankful to be alive that I decided I was going to “live life to the fullest.” Within a year, though, I knew something wasn’t right.
I was scared to be by myself in large crowds, so I started carrying a weapon. I became depressed, sometimes to the point that I would stay in bed for a couple of days in a row. My propensity for calling out people’s bullshit became a norm, and I behaved erratically. Turns out the head injury had left some permanent aftereffects.
I’ve had 15 years to work on it. Counseling, rehab, a lot of medication, trial and error, quitting drinking, and support from family and friends have essentially kept me here and with the plot. If it wasn’t for them, I would be dead by now.
One of my attackers was eventually caught. He was about 30 years old and 5-foot-9. He admitted during sentencing that he’d been smoking meth all day with his buddy and thought I was a guy who had been hitting on his girlfriend earlier that night. He admitted they had gotten the wrong guy. A case of mistaken identity.
He was charged with attempted manslaughter, but the charge got reduced to aggravated battery. His plea: not guilty. That got him six months, with five years’ supervised probation. He also had to pay the Idaho Crime Victims Compensation fund for all my legal and medical bills. His friend skipped town and was never caught.
If there’s anything to be taken away from this, it’s to please know that everyone is going through some shit, and there is so much more to life than this — there has to be — so try to appreciate the good things.
- Scott Rozell, OZY Author Contact Scott Rozell