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Pat Putnam
September 19, 1988
After Mike Tyson's arboreal fender bender, a story was planted alleging the heavyweight champ is mentally disturbed
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September 19, 1988

A Tale Tall As A Tree

After Mike Tyson's arboreal fender bender, a story was planted alleging the heavyweight champ is mentally disturbed

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Despite repeated attempts to ask Trump what part, if any, he played in the Daily News story, his office said he was unreachable.

After Tyson passed out in the BMW, Ewald was joined by her niece, Yvonne Conrad, a registered nurse, who took Tyson's pulse and then said they had better call an ambulance. They called Richards Ambulance Service in Catskill. Within 10 minutes Louis Leo and Judy Sweet arrived in a white 1981 Wheeled Coach ambulance. Moments later they were backed up by two more attendants in a second ambulance. The four attendants loaded Tyson into one of the ambulances on a long backboard.

"He was unconscious," says Leo, "but his pulse and his breathing and his blood pressure were normal. It looked like a relatively minor accident, nothing to indicate high speed. The only thing that made it different from a hundred other minor accidents I've done was who was in it."

Tyson was first taken to a hospital in Catskill. Soon after, he was moved to a larger hospital in Hudson for a CAT scan. Givens and Roper, who were in New York City, were notified and set off in a limo on the two-hour drive north. Around 1 p.m. Ewald went to see Tyson. "Robin and Ruth want you transferred to a hospital [ Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center] in New York," she said. "Do you want to be transferred?"

"I'm not going anywhere until I eat," said Tyson. Apparently his "failed suicide" hadn't diminished his appetite. "I'm starved."

Jay Bright, a friend of Tyson's who lives at Ewald's house, was sent out to fetch some lunch. He found a Chinese fast-food place, Food Sing, near the hospital. After paying the $15 tab with a $100 bill, he returned with an order of beef and broccoli and two quarts of shrimp fried rice with extra duck sauce, which Tyson ravenously consumed.

When Roper and Givens arrived at the hospital, Tyson happily told Ewald, "I'll be fine now. My wife is with me." Then he was whisked away in another ambulance to Columbia Presbyterian. There, a very short list of authorized visitors was posted. Security guards were brought in to enforce the edict. Cayton and Rooney were not on the list. Most of Tyson's old friends were barred. Trump, his wife Ivana, Rubenstein, Parcher and Hayes were allowed in.

"Mike [ Tyson] called me on Wednesday," says Ewald. "He said, 'Camille, have you seen the papers? Who the hell said I was committing suicide?' He was very upset that anyone could think of something like that. The whole story is ridiculous. It was just a plain crazy accident. Every young fighter that Cus had living here hit that same tree at one time or another. I'm thinking of putting up a plaque on it with all their names."

In his only public statement before leaving with his wife on Thursday for the Soviet Union, where Givens will tape two episodes of her TV show, Head of the Class, Tyson told New York television sportscaster Carl White, "I have way too much butt to kick in the ring to try and kill myself out of it. That story was embarrassing. That's insulting, that I would try to make a freak show out of my life. That I would try to kill myself. I have too much to live for."

As for McAlary's charge of wife beating, which had been alleged before, both Tyson and Givens vehemently denied that he has ever struck her. He also denied that he has a chemical imbalance that requires him to take medication, another tidbit dropped on McAlary by someone in a "small circle of people."

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