Attorney: Tackled teen could lose teeth

A lawyer representing Robert Madeo, who pressed charges against a Delmar man who allegedly tackled Madeo's son as he was fleeing a game of ding dong ditch, said the 14-year-old's injuries may include the loss of his two front teeth.

Attorney Kristie Hanson said today Daniel Van Plew sat on top of Madeo's son after tackling him to the pavement outside his home, then took him back into his home until the police arrived.

"He told him he was going to kill him if he moved," Hanson said. "The kid was obviously upset, he was crying."

The teen suffered scratches on his elbow and face and four braces broke off of his top teeth, she said. It was the extent of the injuries that prompted the boy's father to press charges.

"I don't think the public realizes how injured this kid was," she said. "It was excessive force to say the least."

Peter Gerstenzang, attorney for Van Plew, said his client acted with the intent of protecting his family.

"I thought his response was moderate, but that's going to be up to the courts and the DA," he said.

Van Plew was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and harassment in the second degree, a violation, following the Saturday, July 17, incident.

Van Plew, 37, told police someone had pressed his doorbell at about 10:18 p.m. that night, at his home at 59 Egmont Court in Delmar. He didn't see anyone out of the front door, but when he opened his garage door he saw a male running from the rear of his house, according to police reports.

Van Plew chased the subject and tackled him in the front yard, near the street, police said.

The location of the tackle should prove important in the case. Lt. Robert Berben of the Bethlehem Police Department said one of the reasons Van Plew was charged is because he pursued the boy off his property.

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