GREENSBURG, Ind. (AP) — The mother of a man who died at a southeastern Indiana jail is suing the county’s sheriff and jail staff, accusing them of “callousness or reckless indifference” in his death.
Lynn Brewsaugh’s wrongful death lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis over the March 17 death of her 38-year-old son, M. Shane Satterfield. The Greensburg woman’s suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A coroner found that Satterfield, who had been serving a 14-day sentence for drunken driving, died at the Decatur County Jail in Greensburg about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis of natural causes from complications of alcohol withdrawal, the Greensburg Daily News reported.
But Brewsbaugh’s suit alleges jail staff didn’t properly react to Satterfield’s deteriorating condition, which included hallucinations, talking to imaginary people and believing his jail cell held a bomb. The suit also alleges that jail staff placed Satterfield on a 30-minute medical watch but allowed hours to pass between checks.
Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen and Jail Commander Darin Miley said they do not comment on pending litigation. Brewsbaugh’s suit also names the county sheriff’s department and 12 deputies and jail employees as defendants.
Brewsbaugh’s attorney, Stephen Wager, said numerous jail officers noted Satterfield’s symptoms and his deteriorating condition, which he said they were trained to recognize as potentially life-threatening.
“Despite that, they let him die,” Wager said.
The suit alleges that Satterfield died in part because of Allen’s policy that no inmate could be taken to the hospital without his approval. Wager said that the evening Satterfield died jail personnel called Allen and told him about the man’s deteriorating health about 5 p.m., but the sheriff did not enter Satterfield’s cell until 90 minutes later and “by that time it was too late.”
Brewsaugh called the treatment her son received disgraceful.
“He died without any dignity at all,” she said Friday.
Information from: Greensburg Daily News, http://www.greensburgdailynews.com
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