New details of overdose episode at Isiah's house

October 28, 2008 6:06:48 PM PDT
Officers who responded to Isiah Thomas' home after his apparent overdose on sleeping pills found a man passed out on the floor, gave him oxygen until an ambulance arrived and were given a bottle of prescription pills, police chief said Tuesday. Harrison Police Chief David Hall's account provided new details about the episode. Authorities have not publicly identified Thomas as the victim, but a person familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official police report has not been released, has confirmed it was the former NBA star and Knicks coach.

Hall did continue to criticize Thomas for claiming that he had not been treated for a sleeping pill overdose and that it was 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, who had a medical issue.

"As parents, you try to protect your kids; you don't say they did something when it was you who did it," Hall said. "We know the difference between a 47-year-old man and a teenager."

Thomas' spokesman, Jesse Derris, said, "This continues to be a private family matter and the family respectfully asks for privacy." A call to Knicks spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz was not immediately returned. Thomas, fired as coach last April, still works for the team.

Hall said the prescription bottle had a name on it, but he would not disclose the name or the precise medication.

He said that the 911 call made late Thursday from Thomas' multimillion-dollar home in the Purchase section of Harrison went first to state police, then to Harrison. Harrison police on patrol nearby got to the scene first, saw a 47-year-old man on the floor and went into "standard operating procedure," Hall said, administering oxygen until an ambulance crew arrived and took over, eventually lifting him onto a gurney and taking him to White Plains Hospital.

He said it was his department's first-ever call to Thomas' house.

A redacted emergency services log, with the names of the caller and the patient blacked out, indicates the ambulance arrived at the house a few minutes before midnight.

Hall said someone at the house gave his officers a prescription bottle, and the officers gave it to the ambulance crew so doctors at the hospital would know about it. They then searched the house for other medications that might have been involved but found none, he said.

He said police called the overdose accidental because there was no suicide note and no indication that the victim suffered from depression.

Some of the latest details about the Thomas case were first reported by Newsday.

Thomas was one of the best players in NBA history, leading the Detroit Pistons to two consecutive championships in 1989 and 1990.

His tenure in New York has not been so remarkable, however. He served as team president for three years before becoming head coach for two seasons - a tenure that was marked by miserable play on the court, the acquisition of several high-profile free agent busts and a tawdry lawsuit in which Thomas was found to have harassed a former Knicks executive.