YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Dustin James said he was not overdosing on Christmas Eve, 2021, when he was accused of attacking an ambulance crew in Boardman after they wanted to give him Narcan.

But a jury disagreed in January and today James, 38, was sentenced to eight years in prison by Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on charges of felonious assault and two counts of assault.

James went to trial on the charges in January and a jury convicted him.

James is accused of attacking an ambulance crew Dec. 24, 2021, in Boardman as they were treating him in an ambulance for an overdose. Reports said James took a needle out of a paramedic’s hand and tried to stab them with it.

Just before he was sentenced, James said he was not overdosing at the time and did not want to be given the anti-opiate antidote Narcan. He told Judge Sweeney he grabbed the needle in an attempt to stop being given Narcan.

“I just wanted them to stop,” James said, while also admitting “I made a life mistake that day…things escalated quickly.”

Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta recommended a sentence of 10 years for James. He told the judge Christmas Eve 2021 was not the first time James had overdosed and it was not the first time the same ambulance crew treated him.

Brevetta said he understands that James has a drug problem but that doesn’t excuse his conduct when the ambulance crew and police tried to help him.

“What concerns me is Mr. James tried to hurt the people trying to save his life,” Brevetta said.

Brevetta also said a lengthy prison sentence is necessary, one of the reasons being that James has a history of abusing drugs to the point that it puts his life in danger.

“I believe Mr. James’ behavior that day is indicative of the path he is on,” Brevetta said.

James acknowledged he has overdosed several times, and told the judge the first time he was found after being on the floor for an hour and a half. He credited the paramedics who treated him with performing a “miracle” and saving his life. But, he maintains his innocence in this case because he said he never meant to assault someone; he just didn’t want to be treated for what he said was a non-existent overdose.

“I know I did not overdose in this case,” James said. “More than once, I told them that.”

James said he will be appealing his convictions.

A trial for a second felonious assault charge James is facing was also continued today by Judge Sweeney.

After James was arrested and posted bail, he was arrested in June on charges he broke his girlfriend’s nose. He faces charges of felonious assault and domestic violence in that case.