The inmates are taking over the asylum. Or, at least in this case, taking to the court room in search of what they say is justice.
Two men who were injured in an accident while being transported to the Orange County Jail in a Huntington Beach Police transport are suing the city for associated costs because they were handcuffed, not seat belted, and thus injured more seriously as a result.
56-year-old Patrick Rooney and 35-year-old Troy Hofheimer, who were both arrested for drug charges, were in the back of a police transport van on January 2nd when they were involved in an accident just before 8:30 a.m.
The crash was caused when another driver ran a red light at the intersection of Ellis Avenue and Ward Streets, leaving the transport driver no opportunity to avoid the Orange County car accident. However, the two inmates contend that they were not properly secured for the crash.
It is county protocol to cuff prisoners behind the back during transport. However, unlike police cruisers, the seats in transport vans are not ergonomically designed so handcuffed passengers can also be belted in. The two men argue that this contributed to their injuries.
Rooney says that he sustained head, neck, back, leg, and knee injuries as a result of the crash. Hofheimer claims he suffered head, face, neck, back, and shoulder injuries, and additionally, that he requested that he be buckled in, a request denied by officers at the time.
The men are asking for an undisclosed amount of financial compensation. They say they plan to pursue the claims in Orange County Superior Court, undaunted by city officials whom have rejected both of the claims.
While the idea of criminals suing the city may seem like an odd idea, negligence comes in many forms, and those responsible for injuries need to be held accountable, both financial and otherwise. That’s the bottom-line.