Allen Daniel Hicks suffered a stroke in May 2012 that caused him to drive erratically, but instead of getting medical attention for the man Tampa police officers threw him into a jail cell. He would later die.
The inmate’s death has now led to a $1 million settlement for the family and an investigation into why officers failed to recognize the medical crisis the man was suffering.
Reports say Allen Daniel Hicks was exhibiting symptoms of a stroke when he was pulled over for erratic driving on Interstate 275 last year. Police ignored the suggestion of paramedics to take him to the hospital and instead booked him into jail without a medical screening, overlooking the fact that he could not speak coherently and was dragging his left leg.
He spent the next day in a jail cell, where he could not stand and tried to crawl using only the right side of his body. Eventually he was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a severe ischemic stroke. He fell into a coma and died months later.
The family of Allen Daniel Hicks sued the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office, agreeing to a $1 million settlement.
“You should be able to get help from medical personnel and police officers and not be taken to jail, and we feel the highway patrol and EMT should have much better training on recognizing stroke victims,” attorney Paul Rebein, who represented Hicks’ family, said.
But that may not be the end of the issue. The state of Florida is now launching an investigation into Armor Correctional Health Services, which operates the jail.
The company did not comment directly on Hicks’ death, but said it takes careful precautions to ensure that prisoners are properly cared for.
“Armor has nurses around-the-clock at the jail conducting immediate health screenings for each person entering the jail,” the organization said in a written statement. “By policy and procedure, they seek to identify all medical and mental health problems, including acute conditions such as stroke and injury or chronic illnesses such as diabetes and schizophrenia. Each patient is then discussed with or referred to a physician in order to establish a treatment plan that serves the best interest and safety of the patient.”
An attorney representing the family of Allen Daniel Hicks said a medical quality assurance investigator has reached out to start the state’s investigation. It is not clear when the results could be made public.