Quadriplegic feels safe again
Almost three weeks after being beaten and robbed in a home invasion, a Hernando County man can rest easy after State Alarm gives him a home security system for free.
By APRIL YEE
Published July 13, 2006
These days, Patrick "Blair" Stevenson calls 911 before going to sleep, so it stays on redial.
He holds the phone to his stomach and listens to the noises outside - hardly shutting his eyes most nights.
Now, the man who was beaten with his own pistol by intruders almost three weeks ago hopes he can get some sleep.
Stevenson, considered a quadriplegic, has a donated alarm system at his fingertips.
On Tuesday morning, technicians meticulously placed detectors on his doors and windows.
The system would have cost $1,600, plus an extra $25 or $30 each month, said Steve Consterdine, the State Alarm employee who scoped out the home July 5. That was too much for Stevenson to pay.
Consterdine recommended that the Ohio company donate the service, and a supplier pitched in some equipment. Stevenson can control it all with a remote, much like a car key.
"I've not had any breaks in the last nine years, and this is one of them," said Stevenson, 42.
Stevenson grew up just down the road from where he lives now. In these isolated woods north of State Road 50 and west of Brooksville, he swam in the pond and raced his motorcycle.
In 1989, he bought the land. Stevenson, then a contractor, finished building his dream home in 1993.
Four years later, he was paralyzed when his bike landed on top of him during a motocross race in Dade City. Then, his wife left him, taking their three children.
But Stevenson has tried to remain hopeful. Earlier this year, he traveled to California and Mexico for four months of stem cell treatment intended to help him walk again, and upon returning to Florida, he went on a diet.
On June 22, three men broke down his front door and beat him on his head with his own pistol. They held it to his head and clicked the trigger, he said.
The intruders made off with a bracelet, a necklace, a computer and four guns. They even tried taking his $2,300 big-screen TV by using his wheelchair lift.
As he lay bleeding on his bed that night, he thought: I could sell this house.
"I thought I wouldn't sleep in this bed again," he later said.
For two weeks, he asked to sleep at friends' places. He said he relived the moment "all the time." His nurse, Lisa Pedone, said she got his calls 15 times a day.
"It consumes his whole life," said Pedone, who has spent six hours a day with him nearly every day the past four years. "It's been horrible."
He spent his first night at home Saturday, and even then he downed NyQuil and had a friend stay until he fell asleep.
"Hopefully, this alarm system will give him a little peace of mind," Pedone said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the robbery case, according to the Sheriff's Office.
"Oh yeah, I want them to catch them bad, if my friends don't catch them first," Stevenson said.
"In the back of my mind, I'm thinking, 'What if ...' "
In his bedroom decorated with pinup girls and an American flag, Stevenson smiled. The technicians were putting the finishing touches on the alarm system.
"Tonight, I'm going to get a good night's sleep - without NyQuil."
April Yee can be reached at email@example.com or 352 754-6117.
[Last modified July 12, 2006, 23:38:13]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]