Summary:

Paragraph four reads: "Police said it is not uncommon for motorists to be charged with driving 'while ability impaired' after taking Zoloft, based on field tests measuring coordination and response".

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-liseaf253685178feb25,0,4443852.story?coll=ny-homepage-big-pix

Driver had Rx for drugs

BY KEIKO MORRIS
STAFF WRITER; Staff writers Chris Antonacci and Samuel Bruchey contributed to this story.
February 25, 2004

The attorney for the Seaford High School wrestler who was driving a car in a crash that killed his teammate early Monday said that Michael Moor has been taking prescribed medication for years and he believes the medication did not affect Moor's ability to drive.

Attorney Leonard Symons, of Mineola, said Moor, 17, has been taking Ritalin, to treat a type of attention deficit disorder, and Zoloft, an anti-depressant, for years. "It helps him focus," Symons said of Ritalin, adding, "I don't see either drug as impacting the ability to drive an automobile."

Moor was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, a misdemeanor. Symons said he "told the truth that he was on prescribed medication."

Zoloft and Ritalin come with warnings that they can cause dizziness or drowsiness, a pharmacist said. Police said it is not uncommon for motorists to be charged with driving while ability impaired after taking Zoloft, based on field tests measuring coordination and response.

The accident has devastated Moor and his parents, who feel terribly for the family of Patrick Butler, 15, who died in the crash. Butler was one of four wrestlers traveling home with Moor from a diner where they celebrated the team's success at the county championships. Police said Moor became involved in a confrontation with an approaching SUV as he was turning onto Sunrise Highway from the diner parking lot. The SUV driver told police he flashed his lights and blew his horn to warn that the headlights of Moor's 1988 Honda were off. Moor, who was in the right lane, tried to pull alongside the SUV and lost control of his vehicle, crashed into a couple of cars and a utility pole, police said.

Symons said his client had a different version of what took place, but would not elaborate.

The crash ended an evening of elation, after the team won individual championships and the Division II team title. Moor was supposed to go on to compete in the state tournament in Buffalo, but withdrew out of respect for Butler's family, according to wrestling coach Sal LoStrappo. LoStrappo said Moor told him, "I have to be here with them rather than realize my life-long dream."

Yesterday a steady stream of mourners entered the Charles G. Schmitt Funeral Home in Seaford to pay respects to Butler's family, something Moor told Symons he wanted to do as well. "There is a special bond in this wrestling team and he feels a particular loss in the passing of his good friend," Symons said. "He wants to show his love and respect."

Staff writers Chris Antonacci and Samuel Bruchey contributed to this story.