Houtzdale inmate files multiple lawsuits
Tarence Mosey, a Bellwood-area man serving three to six years at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale for homicide by vehicle while under the influence and related offenses, has filed federal and state lawsuits stemming from his time in the Blair County Prison and his court case.
Federal court records from Johnstown show that Mosey, 25, is suing the Blair County Prison for providing deficient mental health care that led to an attempt at suicide.
He also charged that the food was inadequate and describes how he suffered as a result of the living conditions in the prison.
While in the prison, he stated, he was kept in an overcrowded cell that contained 22 inmates, forcing him to sleep on the floor.
He said the toilet malfunctioned, causing waste to spread throughout the cell, and noted that because of a broken air conditioning system, the temperature in the cell soared to 95 degrees.
Soon after, he stated, black mold spread, adding to his discomfort.
He said when he was eventually transferred from the Blair County Prison to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, he allegedly suffered from malnutrition, excruciating stomach pains, head pain, dizziness and unhealthy weight loss.
He contends the prison was “deliberately indifferent” to his serious medical needs.
Mosey, who is representing himself, named retired warden Michael Johnston, present Warden Abbie Tate, nurse Courtney McClain, and nurse supervisor Jennifer Crawford as defendants.
In a second lawsuit — filed in the Blair County Courthouse — Mosey complains that the prosecutor of his case and now Common Pleas Judge Jackie Bernard released his medical records in violation of the HIPPA privacy act and that the information was used in articles published by the Altoona Mirror to depict him “as a murderer and/or killer, as well as a dangerous ‘drunk driver.'”
He claimed the many articles written by Mirror reporters Phil Ray, Kay Stephens and Greg Bock led to several personal attacks as he was leaving his home, as well multiple attacks on his vehicle and home.
He also stated he received “multiple death threats at his home.”
Mosey’s criminal charges arose from a fatal traffic accident at 3 a.m. May 27, 2015, on the North Eighth Street Bridge, where his vehicle struck Brandon Boyd, 29, who was pregnant.
Boyd was standing outside her disabled vehicle when struck. She and her unborn child died as a result of the accident.
Most of the attacks on Mosey and his property occurred, he stated in his Blair County lawsuit, after each article was published concerning his case.
Mosey, 25, stated he suffered mental and emotional distress and eventually attempted suicide as a result of the publicity and the subsequent attacks.
In addition to the Mirror reporters, he also names Mirror General Manager Ray Eckenrode and Managing Editor Neil Rudel in the Blair County lawsuit.
In both lawsuits, Mosey is asking for money damages.
He was sentenced on Oct. 10, 2017, by Blair County Judge Timothy M. Sullivan on charges of homicide by vehicle while under the influence, DUI, careless driving, speeding and operating a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker.
As to Mosey’s federal lawsuit, Blair County Judge Daniel J. Milliron, chairman of the prison board, had no comment because he has yet to see it.
He said it will eventually be discussed by the board and consultation will occur with the county’s attorneys.
Judge Bernard could not be reached for comment.
Officials of the Altoona Mirror declined comment.