The HBO producer who left overdosed Long Island dermatologist Dr. Kiersten Cerveny on the floor of a Chelsea apartment building vestibule hung up after being told by a 911 operator to “Hold on for the ambulance,” according to a tape of the call released on Monday.
Marc Henry Johnson, 53, of Manhattan, who will be sentenced Aug. 15 for helping drag Cerveny’s body from the drug dealer’s apartment where she overdosed to keep police from finding it, has asked for no jail time and says he deserves credit for at least calling 911.
According to the 911 tape, Johnson only told the emergency operator that there was “a woman passed out” in the lobby and gave an address, but didn’t identify himself, say that he knew the woman or that they had been doing cocaine and drinking together.
The ambulance operator didn’t specify whether by “Hold on for the ambulance,” she meant to stay on the line or stay at the scene. When the ambulance driver began asking questions, Johnson had hung up, but he did wait at the scene and point to Cerveny for paramedics before leaving.
Cerveny, 38, a Manhasset mother of three, died of cocaine and alcohol poisoning in 2015 after carousing with Johnson at a Manhattan bar and later at the apartment of dealer James Holder. Holder was imprisoned for five years for selling drugs. Neither man was accused of providing the drugs that killed Cerveny.
The 911 call, which Johnson’s lawyer included as an exhibit to his sentencing memo, and efforts Johnson says he made to give Cerveny CPR are central to his plea for leniency, but prosecutors said in a letter filed over the weekend it was too little, too late and called for a 2-year prison term.
Johnson had used Holder’s apartment as a sex-and-drugs lair with women for years, the government said, and when Cerveny became ill he tried to protect it by calling an unidentified person who had been with them in the bar and then carrying her body down the stairs with Holder before he called 911.
It was “was not just obstructionist, it was cruel,” said prosecutors, who did not name Cerveny. “Every second that elapsed between Individual-1’s overdose and Johnson’s call for an ambulance was a lost opportunity to try to save a 38-year-old mother of three.”
CPR was futile because Johnson was high himself, prosecutors added, and in addition to providing sparse information in his first 911 call Johnson later refused again to provide details when an NYPD operator redialed his cellphone, telling her to “call him back another time.”
“Even then, Johnson let his selfish interest in avoiding legal scrutiny and embarrassment override the urgent need to save Individual-1’s life,” the government said.