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$100,000 Settlement in Missouri Jail Prisoner’s Methamphetamine Overdose Death

$100,000 Settlement in Missouri Jail Prisoner's Methamphetamine Overdose Death

When arrested during a traffic stop on June 4, 2005, 20-year-old Sheena Crawford ingested methamphetamine. Upon being booked into Missouri's Pettis County Jail, Crawford advised guards Jennifer Meyer and Clarence McGuldrick that she had swallowed meth.

The guards, following jail policy, waited to receive approval from a supervisor to obtain medical help for Crawford. As a result, she was not taken to a hospital until more than an hour later. By then the drugs had entered her bloodstream. Crawford died the next day at the hospital due to an overdose.

Her family filed a wrongful death suit in April 2006, alleging the guards showed deliberate indifference to Crawford's serious medical needs. The suit named the county, city, a former police officer and the two jail guards as defendants.

In August 2007 the County settled the suit for $100,000. "With this, there's no admission of wrongdoing," said Sheriff Kevin Bond. The County?s insurance company will pay the settlement, he added.

The settlement benefits Crawford?s three-year-old son, Dante, who will receive monthly payments once he turns 21. "At least my grandson got something out of it," said Crawford's mother, Connie Hankins. She said she hopes that such an incident "doesn't happen again" at the jail.

The odds are, however, that it could happen again. Sheriff Bond said the jail's procedures had changed little since Crawford's death. Guards can only transfer a prisoner to a hospital if the prisoner has an "immediate emergency." Other "routine" medical problems still require approval from a supervisor. Apparently, ingestion of a quantity of drugs that can result in overdose and death is considered a routine problem in Pettis County. See: Price v. Meyer, USDC WD MO, Case No. 2:06-cv-04080-NKL.

Additional Source: The Sedalia Democrat

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Related legal case

Price v. Meyer