Garnerville resident goes off the deep end, but luckily doesn’t drown


Local gadfly Michael Davitt, of 32 Morton St, in West Haverstraw, decided to literally air out his frustrations Monday by hanging from a rope on the main spanof the Tappan Zee Bridge. He held a banner accusing County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and the County Legislature of engaging in a “cover-up” of his “illegal” dismissal.

Mr. Davitt has been a regular at meetings of the County Legislature and other political gatherings in recent years following his dismissal from the Mental Health Department as a substance abuse counselor.

As of 1:55 p.m. Monday he was brought down and sent to state police headquarters and was then sent for mental evaluation. He was charged with misdemeanors and released on only $500 bail. Davitt had created an impressive rope and harness contraption which allowed him to lower himself approximately 75 feet from the main span. He tied the rope to his SUV and dangled about half way between the water and the bridge.

The publicity stunt lasted four hours before rescuers began to lower him into a barge below. Davitt let go of his harness and landed in the Hudson, where rescuers scooped him up.

In recent legislative meetings, Davitt would often ramble incomprehensibly about an alleged wrong done against him by County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. He also would appear at events with an “Indict Vanderhoef” banner. Sometimes he would appear at legislative meetings with his children. Recently his visits with the legislature became uncomfortable and he made less sense, while also coming across as threatening toward the lawmakers.

Ron Levine, Vanderhoef’s Director of Communications, said, “Mr Davitt was separated from county service in 2008 because he was no longer able to perform his essential job functions as a Substance Abuse Counselor 1. He subsequently applied for and received a disability retirement from New York State. At this time we do not know why he is upset with the County Executive and the Legislature.”

Bronx resident Dana Carrol said in a conversation thread in the public facebook group North Rockland Community Group, “He did in fact work as a substance abuse counselor in the day program in Pomona before it was moved to Suffern. He actually helped a lot of people. Whatever his issues are, the whole thing is sad.”

A few locals who know Davitt also have attested that he has a good character, although nobody can explain his stunt.

County Legislator and Minority Leader Frank Sparaco said, “I feel horrible that he would go to these lengths and that he didn’t feel that he was being heard. I hope he gets the help that he needs.”

County Legislator Ed Day, a retired NYC detective, was asked about the case. He said, ” It’s pretty obvious he’s in serious need of help. With what he’s doing now, all he’s doing is endangering his own life and others. The general conversation in the legislature has been when is he going to snap? I feel badly for him because he’s a fellow human being, but I am also feeling bad for those who are trying to save him and risking their life.”

Day said Davitt often looked unstable when he appeared before the County Legislature.

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