23 05 2008

Washington Borough disabled boy will undergo surgery following beating

by Tom Quigley

May 21, 2008



A physically disabled 17-year-old boy will undergo surgery Thursday, just three days after he was assaulted behind a convenience store.

But the victim and his parents’ thoughts are focused on getting help for Matthew J. Zeigler, the 18-year-old Washington Borough resident now charged with aggravated assault in the attack.

Russ Crosby and his wife, Ilona, said their son, Keith, is opposed to putting Ziegler in prison if he’s convicted.

“We don’t want the kid locked up,” Russ Crosby said. Russ Crosby, 46, said Zeigler needs the kind of help he cannot receive in prison.

Zeigler posted bail today and was released from the Warren County jail. He could not be reached for comment today.

Zeigler, of the 400 block of West Washington Avenue, is charged with assaulting Keith Crosby behind the Quick Chek convenience store on Belvidere Avenue.

He punched Keith Crosby in the face causing a bloody lip and nose, and rupturing the plastic tube that relieved fluid buildup from his brain, police reported.

Washington Police Sgt. George Duckworth said police weren’t aware of the potential severity of the injuries at first.

“(Keith Crosby) appeared fine, like he was OK and he was bleeding from the nose and lips,” Duckworth said.

When Russ Crosby arrived at the police station after his son’s girlfriend called, he asked that his son be transported to the hospital.

A test showed the ruptured tube and the surgery is scheduled today at the Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township.

“He’s angry that he was assaulted,” Duckworth said, referring to Keith Crosby. “He wants to see Matt get help. He doesn’t want his friends taking retribution on him.”

Russ Crosby said there’s no way doctors can tell if the tube damage resulted from the assault or already existed.

Keith (Casey) Crosby became hydrocephalic as a newborn, requiring physicians to place a shunt in his brain that drained excess fluid, according to his father. Doctors inserted the shunt when Crosby was 30 days old, after an earlier shunt caused an infection.

Russ Crosby said his son has always “strived to do whatever everybody told him he can’t do.”

Crosby last year won the “Lowell M. Snare Most Courageous Athlete” award at the annual Hunterdon/Warren Athletic Association Scholar Athlete Luncheon in Phillipsburg, according to the Hunterdon County Democrat.

Despite muscular problems and weakness on his left side, Crosby is a member of the Warren Hills Regional High School swimming team for the fourth year in a row.

The Warren Hills senior also played baseball, but his parents refused permission when the young athlete asked if he could also play football.

“He actually wanted to play football,” Russ Crosby said.




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