Man sues Hamilton County, says special deputies hurt him with 'rough ride'

Posted at 2:05 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 15:13:57-04

CINCINNATI -- A man has sued Hamilton County, accusing a pair of special deputies of injuring him with a "rough ride" in a prisoner transport van.

Deputy Joanne Taylor and Deputy Patrick McKown were driving 65-year-old Terry Collett, of Dearborn County, Indiana, from the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Justice Center June 6, 2015, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. district court Wednesday. During the drive, Collett was tightly handcuffed but unsecured on a bench in the back of the van.

A Mount Healthy police officer had arrested Collett and charged him with OVI the night of the alleged incident.

McKown took a sharp turn off the highway at speed and later slammed on the brakes, causing Collett to fall off the bench twice, according to the lawsuit. The deputies had to stop the van and help him back onto the bench after he fell.

Collett heard the deputies laughing after he fell the second time, according to the lawsuit.

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"McKown's quick and fast turn on the exit ramp and his sudden braking action at the traffic signal, while knowing that Mr. Collett was unsafe and unsecure in the back of the van, was knowingly reckless, constituted use of excessive force and deliberately increased the risk of harm to Mr. Collett," the lawsuit states.

Special deputies are unpaid volunteers who have completed the Ohio Basic Peace Officer Academy, according to the sheriff's office. They are uniformed and armed, but only serve in an auxiliary or supplemental role.

A sheriff's office spokesman didn't immediately respond to requests to comment.

When they arrived at the jail, medical staff refused to accept Collett because of his injuries, according to the lawsuit. They told the deputies to take Collett to the hospital, where a supervisor photographed Collett's injuries but "ignored the ... clear and obvious reckless transportation and their failure to protect."

Collett was treated at University of Cincinnati Medical Center for lacerations to his right elbow and a carpal bone fracture to his left wrist, according to the lawsuit.

The deputies were not retrained, counseled or disciplined for the incident, Collett's lawsuit states.

Collett felt pain for several weeks as a result of the injuries and his right elbow develped an inflammation and swelling caused by an infection which required medications and surgery, according to the lawsuit.

Collett was sentenced to probation for the OVI charge, according to court records. Two other charges were dismissed.