Sheriff’s Office Leaves Inmates in Hot Van

August 14, 2018 by

Most Texas prisons are without air conditioning, there’s a federal lawsuit over the issue. However, the air conditioning in vans used to transport inmates is now being called into question as a potentially deadly mistake was made by a county sheriff’s deputy.

Eric Yollick, who runs the Golden Hammer website, recently wrote about a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy leaving several jail inmates “in a van unattended with the van turned off – without air conditioning – for approximately 2.5 hours,” alleging that some were on the verge of unconsciousness after the August 9 event.

“No inmates died in the incident, but several sources inside the Sheriff’s Office confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that some of the inmates were on the verge of unconsciousness,” Yollick said.

We reached out to the Sheriff’s department for comment on the incident and received the following statement from Lt. Scott Spencer:

“The incident involving the jail transport driver is currently under investigation by our Internal Affairs Unit. The deputy involved was reassigned to other jail duties pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation. None of the inmates involved were injured nor were they sent to the hospital. They were evaluated by jail medical staff.”

In a follow-up email, Spencer said, “We are taking this incident seriously and through the preliminary investigation it was two inmates and it was about hour and 20 minutes not 2.5 hours.”

While the length of time is important, even an hour is still unacceptable.

An ABC13 report on the lethal effects of hot cars noted that, “When it’s 95 degrees outside it can get to 114 degrees inside after 10 minutes and 129 after 30 minutes.” So even in an hour and twenty minutes, conditions can become deadly. Records show that Montgomery County had a high of 95 on the day of the incident.

The investigation is ongoing and the resulting actions regarding the officer will certainly be something to look for. Montgomery County residents should be concerned and if it weren’t for Yollick’s reporting, the situation would have gone unnoticed.

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About the Author

Charles operates the Houston office for Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.