Father Of Man Who Died In Jail Van Files Suit


An Amelia Island man is suing two companies after his son, a former college professor, died while being transported across the country in a private prison van.

According to the lawsuit, he had been sick and lost 46 pounds in 10 days, but prison guards ignored his ailments.

An autopsy found that the 47-year-old PhD died of a perforated ulcer.

In April 2014, the man’s father received a call from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, saying his son had died in custody as a private inmate transportation company drove him from Colorado to South Carolina.

The conversation went as follows,

GBI agent: “I have some bad news for you.”

Father: “Is this about William? Is he alive?”

Agent: “No sir. I’m sorry.”

Father: “They didn’t have the proper medications. They didn’t take care of him. He was locked up, moving around from place to place. I knew that was going to happen. Nobody would believe me.”

The deceased taught physics at a couple universities, most recently at Coastal Carolina University, but ran into trouble in 2014 when he was arrested, accused of making threats to a South Carolina newspaper, which published an article about him. Police in Boulder Colorado arrested him and hired Prisoner Transportation Services of America to drive him back to the East Coast.

After his arrest, the man’s medications were cut off.  He was witnessed passing out on the bathroom floor and vomiting blood.

The father is suing Prisoner Transport Services of America and Advanced Correctional Healthcare, the business that screened the man as he was housed at a correctional facility during the trip.

The man was shackled with other prisoners during the trip. Reports indicate that he was too weak to even step up into the van.

During the transport, he leaned over, stopped breathing and urinated on himself. That is when other detainees screamed for help.

When employees finally did stop the van at a North Georgia jail, the man had been dead so long, his body was stiff. Other inmates were chained by his side.

His death was described as slow, painful and torturous.

Last week, the New York Times published an article on Prisoner Transport Services of America after learning that four inmates have died in while in its custody since 2012, and there are dozens of claims of mistreatment and brutality while being transported.  

Family members of inmates who die while serving time due to abuse, brutality or neglect can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Who you can sue and the damages you can recover all depend on the type of institution where the inmate was held, the manner of death, and other circumstances.

It can be confusing when it comes to a death that occurs during incarceration. It is important to note that you will need a lawyer to help you through this. Our Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. There are statutory limitations on how long you have to file, so it is best to act fast. We understand how difficult it is to think about finding an attorney when someone you love has just passed away, but early representation is the only way to make sure that your rights are fully protected.

For a free consultation, call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online.

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