FORD COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - A multimillion-dollar settlement has been reached in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought against Ford County, two county jail employees, and the sheriff.
The lawsuit was brought in 2013, claiming they failed to provide proper medical treatment to an inmate, Richard Gonzalez, who was later found dead in his cell.
The News Gazette reports the amount was in the multimillion-dollar range.
The money will be split between Gonzalez's three minor children. They will start getting payments through annuities when they turn 18.
The lawsuit claimed correctional officers failed or refused to provide Gonzalez with proper medical treatment for "serious medical needs" and locked him in a solitary padded cell.
The lawsuit also alleged jail staff tried to cover up the circumstances surrounding his death.
Gonzalez was taken into custody May 15, 2012 and was awaiting transfer to the Illinois Department of Corrections when he was found dead May 23.
He had been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing $3,000 from a Paxton bank through a fraudulent ATM transaction, the News Gazette said.
On May 18, 2012 was taken to a nearby emergency room for treatment of a serious medical issue. Later that day, he was returned to jail.
Once back at jail, Gonzalez said he was still in pain and needed more medicine. The lawsuit alleges that is when they locked him in a padded cell.
The coroner said Gonzalez's death was caused by cardiac arrhythmia. He said a contributing factor was a fracture of his right scapula due to a fall.
The shoulder injury happened on May 18, 2012, when Gonzalez fell off a table while talking on a phone in a six-person cell block, the News Gazette reports.
The shoulder fracture put additional stress on Gonzalez's heart, contributing to the cardiac arrhythmia.
The lawsuit claims jail staff wrote false reports and lied to state police investigators, claiming Gonzalez was alive long after he had died.