Reid Sons Are Sent To Jail

Posted: November 02, 2007

ANDY REID'S face grew increasingly red.

The Eagles head coach, known for his sternness with players, was obviously not used to being dressed down, at least not in such a public forum.

Yet there he sat yesterday, alongside his wife, Tammy, in a Montgomery County courtroom with his cheeks aflame as a judge rebuked their parenting after their two eldest sons were nabbed for separate gun-and- drug-related crimes on the same January day.

"I have some real difficulty with the structure in which these two boys live," Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill said. "What is the supervision?"

True, Garrett Reid, 24, and his brother Britt, 22 - are not kids anymore, but they were still living at home and driving their parents' cars, and therefore, the parents bear some responsibility, O'Neill said.

"You got to take accountability of what goes on in the house," O'Neill said. "This is a family in crisis and we have to address it."

O'Neill described the "culture" of the Reid household, while loving, as "more or less like a drug emporium with the drugs all over the house," with two addicts living there.

Andy and Tammy Reid have three other children - a son, Spencer, 15, and two daughters, Crosby, 19, and Drew Ann, 17.

The lecture capped a stunning day in which Garrett Reid acknowledged a long history of dealing drugs from battered streets of North Philly to the affluent Main Line, where the Reids reside; jail officials revealed that Garrett Reid had smuggled drugs into jail by hiding them inside his rectum and the judge disclosed that Garrett and Britt had used steroids as young athletes.

Just before sentencing, O'Neill dropped a bombshell when he disclosed Garrett's drug-dealing past. A picture of a boastful and self-important drug dealer emerged.

Garrett began selling cocaine in the North Philly " 'hood" in summer 2002, according to a pre-sentencing report prepared by the county's Probation Department.

" 'I liked being the rich kid in that area and having my own high-status life,' " O'Neill quoted Garrett as saying. " 'I could go anywhere in the 'hood. They all knew who I was. I enjoyed it. I liked being a drug dealer.' "

Garrett also said that drugs were everywhere on the Main Line and that selling them there made him feel powerful, according to the report.

" 'These kids were scared of me,' " O'Neill quoted Garrett as saying. " 'I was even selling to their parents . . . I turned everyone on to Oxycontin.' "

When O'Neill finished reading from the report, he looked up and said, "As a judge, that scares the hell out of me."

Garrett explained it was just a "phase" - one that he is far beyond.

"Yeah, I did get a thrill out of it . . . I'm not going to sit here and lie to you," Garrett said yesterday about his drug-dealing days.

"That's not me today. I'm older, wiser," he said, adding that he now sees the "negative" side of a world he once thought of as "glamorous."

"I sold drugs when I didn't have a habit," Garrett said. "Now I have a habit and I don't sell drugs . . . I've seen what [drugs] can do and what it's done to my life. I'm not the same person."

Garrett said he is at the point in his life at which he doesn't "want to die doing drugs."

"I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion," Garrett said.

For six hours, Andy and Tammy Reid sat stone-faced, in the front row next to their church bishop. They did not leave the courtroom during that time, not even to use the bathroom or to grab lunch during the break.

After the proceeding, they scooted out a side door, escorted by two private security guards and four sheriff's officers. They did not say a word to a horde of news media.

O'Neill first sentenced Garrett Reid to jail for two to 23 months for running a red light while high on heroin and smashing his Jeep into another motorist, who was severely hurt in the Plymouth Township crash.

Garrett expressed remorse for the accident, but O'Neill questioned whether he was truly sorry. He again cited the pre-sentencing report, in which Garrett told a probation officer that his heroin use played no role in the accident. He said the accident was caused when he dropped his backpack on the floor and reached down to get it because he wanted his iPod, which was inside.

" 'I know when I'm high,' " O'Neill quoted Garrett as saying. " 'The same thing would have happened if I was sober.' "

Later yesterday, O'Neill sentenced Britt Reid to eight to 23 months in jail and four years' probation for pointing a handgun at another driver during a road-rage incident in West Conshohocken. After five months in jail, Britt will be eligible to apply for Drug Court, which provides treatment oversight for drug offenders.

O'Neill also had harsh words for Britt. He questioned why he was driving around with a gun and a rifle in a car registered to his mother. He wondered whether he had the guns for "bravado" or "protection."

He lectured Britt on gun violence, saying police officers in Philadelphia are getting shot at alarming rates and "quite frankly, nobody is doing anything about it."

Pointing a gun in someone's face is serious business, O'Neill said.

"One slip and this is a murder case - you know it and I know it," O'Neill said.

Then, O'Neill turned his attention to Andy and Tammy Reid.

"If he is going to live in your house, you better get to know about it," O'Neill said about the drugs and guns Britt had.

Britt told the judge that he alone is responsible for his actions.

"I'm not a child. I do live in my parents' house, but they are not responsible for what I do," Britt said. "I made all of the decisions without their knowledge."

He said he wanted to lead "a normal life" and get his college degree - something that was "impossible" previously because he had been so "medicated."

Britt said he has detoxed during the past 10 weeks in jail and is now thinking more clearly.

"I did make a lot of mistakes in the past and I want to move on," Britt said.

The sentencings were full of disturbing revelations that began at 10 a.m., when O'Neill announced that just hours earlier, jail guards found 89 pills in Garrett's cell that he had smuggled in.

The list of pills included: 57 tablets of Suboxone, an opioid used to treat opiate dependence; 10 pills of Lexapro, used to treat depression and anxiety; 10 Valiums; one Haldol, used to treat delusions and hallucinations; one Bu-Spar, an anti-anxiety drug and eight unknown pills.

"This definitely is new information that is extremely troubling," O'Neill said.

E. Marc Costanzo, the deputy attorney general who prosecuted the Reid brothers, said he believed that some of the pills had been legally prescribed to Garrett and that some had not.

Although Suboxone was prescribed to Garrett, he was not permitted to have the pills in his cell.

O'Neill said that it's possible that Garrett could face new charges in connection with the pills, but that the decision whether to file charges will be up to prison officials and county authorities.

O'Neill said he did not know whether Garrett had smuggled the pills into the jail because he had become so addicted to pharmaceuticals that he "wasn't going to suffer incarceration without them" or he intended to sell the drugs to other inmates.

"I just don't know," O'Neill said. "I don't know with you, and that's what scares me."

He noted that Garrett started drug treatment in October 2006 - about four months before the Jan. 30 heroin-induced accident.

Garrett and Britt had been in drug-rehab programs off and on for the past few years, without much success, O'Neill said.

He seemed skeptical of the drug treatment, which involved prescribing addictive medications like Valium and Adderall that they had been receiving from doctors at a Florida detox facility.

O'Neill faulted the Reids for allowing doctors to prescribe addictive pharmaceutical cocktails for their sons at an early age.

He noted that Britt Reid had been prescribed opiates, including Vicodin and morphine, when he was 14 after hurting his back playing football at Harriton High School.

It was no surprise that Britt became addicted to painkillers, O'Neill said.

"As adolescents, they were highly over-prescribed," O'Neill said.

Then they entered drug-rehab programs in which they were prescribed a cocktail of addictive meds, he said.

"Mother or father is laying these pills out for them," O'Neill said, "but they are not accountable." *

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