Inmate forgotten in hot van; TDOC says it was unfortunate accident

A state inmate was left alone inside a van outside a Metro courthouse on Thursday for several hours with the windows rolled up, a Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman said.

A Metro police officer who was passing by the vehicle on Gay Street noticed Darrell Davis, 41, sitting inside the transport van alone and notified the correction agency, TDOC spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said. He was taken downtown along with seven other inmates who were scheduled for court appearances in the A.A. Birch Building, and Carter said they don’t know how he was left behind.

We believe it was definitely an accident,” Carter said. “The officer (who left him behind) has been questioned. He feels really bad, as we do, about what’s happened.”

The inmate, serving a two-year sentence for an attempted robbery conviction, was in the hot van for about two and a half hours as temperatures climbed into the high 80s and low 90s. He was taken to the hospital and released, Carter said.

She said the agency will take disciplinary action against the responsible officer if it’s warranted once their investigation is complete, but at this point they do believe it was accidental.

Davis has been less than a model inmate. With several robbery and drug-related convictions, he has been in state prison several times since 1989. In that time frame, he’s had 56 disciplinaries, Carter said.

His most recent offense was sexual harassment of a female guard. He’s also been in trouble recently for assaulting guards and possessing contraband, Carter said.

source: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080718/NEWS03/80718060

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