Va. Beach cop says drug sent him on quest to fight evil in Philadelphia

Posted: March 13, 2014

BELIEVING HE was a prophet with supernatural powers on a mission from God to conquer evil in Philadelphia, a Virginia Beach police officer stabbed two firefighters he thought were demons trying to stop his crusade, according to a lawsuit filed recently in Illinois federal court.

Bradley Colas, the officer who filed the lawsuit, said that a generic form of the antibiotic Biaxin, which he was prescribed to treat bronchitis, caused him to experience an intense psychotic episode on March 4, 2012. Colas has filed suit against the makers of the drug, AbbVie Inc. and Abbott Laboratories in Chicago, claiming negligence and fraud.

Colas is suing the makers of Biaxin and not of the generic drug because generics are required to provide the same warning labels as their name-brand counterparts, and his suit claims Biaxin provided no warnings regarding adverse psychiatric reactions to the drug.

Colas claims that after just three doses of the drug, he became manic and "obsessed with religious ideas." Upon his fourth dose, Colas said, he began feeling like he had "special religious powers and would be given a religious mission," the lawsuit reads.

After his fifth and final dose, Colas made about 30 phone calls between 2 and 8:47 a.m. that day. He began to believe that an "evil person" was trying to hurt a female friend in Philadelphia. When that friend didn't answer her phone, Colas grabbed his knife, police-issued gun and badge, got behind the wheel of his car and started off on a mission to Philly to rescue her, the suit says.

"At times, Plaintiff closed his eyes while driving because he felt that if he had enough faith, his car would stay on the road," the suit reads. "Eventually, Plaintiff lost control of his vehicle, hit a road sign, and crashed into a large bush."

After the crash in Virginia, Colas called 9-1-1. He believed the responding firefighters were evil demons and he fought them for control of their radio, the suit says.

"During the struggle, Plaintiff exhibited tremendous strength, shaking off the firefighters," according to the suit. "He stabbed two firefighters and shot at a firefighter as well, with the bullet striking the man's pant leg."

After attacking the firefighters, Colas jumped on the side of their truck and asked to hitch a ride to Philly, the suit says.

The firefighters weren't having it, and Colas fell off the truck as they sped away, according to the suit.

Colas then decided he would walk the 200 or so miles to Philadelphia to complete his mission.

Shortly thereafter, Virginia State Police found Colas on the road and arrested him. Colas "congratulated the police on a 'great felony stop' " and continued to rant about religion and his mission to Philadelphia, the suit says.

He was taken to a hospital for treatment and submitted to multiple drug screenings, which showed only the generic Biaxin in his system, according to the suit.

Colas was jailed for three months on attempted-murder and related charges. After several psychiatrists determined that it was the generic Biaxin that caused the psychotic episode, the charges against Colas were dropped, according to the suit. According to news reports from Virginia at the time, Colas was able to get his job back.

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