Lehigh Valley

Drunken, unwelcome guest allegedly spits on medic

He later tells medical staff he has Hepatitis C

PEN ARGYL, Pa. - Authorities allege a Florida man infected with Hepatitis C spit on a medic providing medical care after his arrest for allegedly causing a drunken disturbance.

Mark E. Bender, of Jacksonville, Fla., faces aggravated assault charges following his arrest outside a Pen Argyl apartment Saturday. District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez arraigned the 40-year-old late Saturday afternoon, setting bail at $100,000.

Slate Belt Regional police were dispatched to an apartment in the 200 block of West Pennsylvania Avenue early Saturday morning for a report of an unwanted guest. Officers had been at the same address earlier for an argument between Bender and his girlfriend. Police said Bender agreed to leave and stay with family in the Easton area.

When officers arrived the second time, they found a chaotic scene with people outside yelling and screaming. Police found a drunken Bender inside the apartment.

After reportedly telling police that he drank more than three bottles of wine, a “belligerent” Bender put up his dukes, according to court records. Police said he was placed into “investigative detention” for their safety and his.

Police said the tenant living in the apartment wanted Bender to leave. At that point, he was facing public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges.

Once at police headquarters, Bender began complaining of chest pains. As medics loaded him into an ambulance, police said Bender was yelling and inadvertently spitting, prompting an officer to retrieve a spit mask.

Bender allegedly said “(expletive) this mask” and proceeded to spit on a medic’s face. Once at Easton Hospital, he advised medical staff that he has Hepatitis C, according to court records.

Police charged Bender with aggravated assault, aggravated harassment by a prisoner, simple assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and public drunkenness.

Bender failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.


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