Nine people restrain man high on meth at jail

Published 5:57 pm Monday, April 15, 2019

A man brought to the Boyle County Detention Center recently was so out of his mind on drugs that it took nine people to safely restrain him and get him transported to the hospital, according to Boyle County Jailer Brian Wofford.

The incident is being held up as an example by Wofford and his right-hand man, Captain Chad Holderman, of the need for more staff at the jail.

Wofford and Holderman played surveillance footage of the incident inside the jail’s sally port for members of the Boyle-Mercer Joint Jail Committee last week and there are plans for them to show the footage to Boyle County magistrates, as well.

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Holderman said the man had actually bonded out of the jail about seven hours prior to the incident, but he wound up back in a police car after he was found wandering through traffic. The police were planning to just take him home, but “they get about 3 miles down the road and this guys bleeps out — he goes nuts in the back seat,” Holderman said. “… An altercation ensues on the side of the road. This gentleman ends up getting charged with trying to disarm two different police officers, resisting — he is high on methamphetamine.”

Holderman said authorities suspect the man had drugs on him when police picked him up, then got nervous about it in the back of the cruiser and consumed them all.

Boyle County Jailer Brian Wofford says more staff is needed at the Boyle County Detention Center because the people deputies must deal with now are often high on much stronger drugs than were around 10 or 20 years ago. Photo by Ben Kleppinger.

When police got to the jail with the man, he was still resisting with all his might. Making things more difficult for police and deputies at the jail, the man is a trained MMA fighter, Holderman said. “Everything just worked out great for us,” he said sarcastically.

The jail’s medical staff refused the man because “his vitals are through the roof,” Holderman said. It takes four police officers to get the man into a restraint chair in the sally port; it winds up taking nine people — Danville officers, jail deputies and Boyle EMS personnel — to get him back out of the restraint chair, into a restraining wrap and onto a stretcher so he can be taken to the hospital.

Once the man was taken to the hospital, it took much more than a normal dose of drugs to sedate him; and when he woke back up, he was still high and destroyed a hospital bed, Wofford and Holderman said.

“We’re not dealing with the same type of people 10 years ago, 20 years ago. The drugs are new — they’re stronger,” Wofford said. “… They’re poly-drug users. They’re not just using one, they’re mixing amphetamines, drugs, different chemicals, and they are beasts, just coming (into the jail) physically strong.”

When the incident happened, there were six deputies on duty at the jail — three females and three males, Holderman said. One of the male deputies was already at the hospital with another inmate who was having a medical emergency; and another male deputy was on “light duty” with a broken ankle — he could only work inside the jail’s control room. That left four deputies to deal with the combative man — and one deputy to watch the more than 220 inmates inside the jail from the control room.

“He couldn’t do anything because he’s locked in the control room with a broken ankle,” Wofford said. “These are the reasons … why we need more staff … if something would have happened in one of those other cells, that would cause us all problems. Why didn’t you have a deputy there? Well, we were all out with this guy high in the sally port. Doesn’t matter — standards say this.”

If the man hadn’t become combative yet and been accepted into the jail, “this guy would have probably killed somebody or they would have killed him just trying to protect themselves, because there would have been no other alternatives,” Wofford said.

Cases like this one are becoming more and more common, he said.

“This is why I’m asking — it’s not because I want a bigger budget,” Wofford said. “I don’t want to spend any more money. I want to be responsible. My goal … is to lower long-term costs, lower recidivism.”

Wofford said right now, the jail has 37 of its 40 full-time positions filled, with two deputies out on family medical leave and two more on light duty. One deputy with three and a half years just recently resigned for a higher-paying job elsewhere.

The proposed joint jail budget for 2019-20 currently includes funding for one additional full-time deputy and three part-time positions — the jail currently has two people employed part-time. It also includes funding to hire two contract positions — a mental health professional and a case worker — intended to help inmates deal with mental health issues and get the resources and support they need when they leave jail so they don’t reoffend and end up back in jail.

Wofford also plans to spend money from the jail canteen fund — money paid by inmates for items in the jail — to hire a program coordinator who could help provide life skills classes, parent classes and Moral Reconation Therapy, among other things.

The budget also includes a 50-cent raise across the board for jail staff. The Boyle and Mercer fiscal courts must both sign off on the proposed budget before it is approved.