Allen Daniel Hicks Sr., 51, was found stopped in his car on the side of Interstate 275 by a sheriff’s deputy and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper the morning of May 11, 2012. Passers-by had called 911 after they saw Hicks’ Chevy Cavalier swerving west into a guardrail, records of the incident show.
Speaking incoherently and unable to move his left arm, Hicks was arrested on a charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer when he did not respond to commands to exit his car. Just after noon, he was booked into the Orient Road Jail.
Hicks did not receive a medical screening, but was put in a cell where he lay facedown on the floor or tried to crawl using the one working side of his body. On the night of May 12, soaked in his own urine, his brain choked of blood, he was at last taken to Tampa General Hospital and diagnosed with an ischemic stroke. He slipped into a coma and died within three months.
Apparently paramedics did examine Hicks at the scene, but did not identify any physical problems, although they did recommend he be taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. He was instead taken to jail. The two paramedics “were verbally counseled on how to better handle similar incidents in the future.”
Apparently everyone at the scene assumed that “drunk/drugged and crazy” was the best available explanation for why a middle-aged man crashed his car, was confused, had slurred speech, and was completely weak on one side of his body, and the possibility that he had a stroke wasn’t even considered. (Honestly, I feel a little bit of sympathy for the cops at the scene, who may have felt that they had to defer to the paramedics on a medical call. Which doesn’t excuse all the other cops at the jail, let alone the nurses at the jail.)
Hicks’ family sued and won a million-dollar settlement, mostly from the company that employes the jail’s medical personnel, on the condition that they never speak publicly about the case. (A separate lawsuit is going on against the paramedic company.) However, “the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office did not formally discipline any of its employees.”
Is anyone surprised to hear that Hicks was Black?