A deputy-caused crash, baby born in jail toilet, inmate's lost leg, and a brain injury among claims that could cost the county millions


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The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is keeping the county's legal department busy with a raft of claims that, together, seek millions of dollars in damages.

The claims include a baby born in a jail toilet, a man losing a leg for lack of proper medical care and a deputy allegedly causing a traffic crash that killed two people.

The Sheriff's Office declined to comment citing pending litigation. The Colorado Springs Police Department also declined to comment on matters in which it might have been involved.

Here's a rundown, in chronological order of the claims filed:

Andrew Townsend - COURTESY EPSO
  • Courtesy EPSO
  • Andrew Townsend
Andrew Townsend submitted a claim May 2 regarding his May 18 arrest on a domestic violence charge that didn't pertain to him. He was arrested after being stopped for a traffic infraction in Colorado Springs and booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center (CJC). Townsend was not allowed to post bond due to it being a domestic violence charge until he made a court appearance, which never happened. When his father engaged an attorney, Steve Cornetta of Pueblo, Cornetta contacted the Pueblo County District Attorney's Office about the mistaken identity issue, providing evidence Townsend wasn't even in Colorado at the time of the domestic violence incident. The DA filed a motion to dismiss the charges on May 23, which was granted the following day. The claim alleges Townsend was "wrongly detained without probable cause and denied due process" in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Townsend was held for six days without being given access to a judge or legal counsel. Damages sought: No specified dollar figure.

  • Courtesy EPSO
  • Thomas Dole
Thomas Ryan Dole submitted a claim May 25, alleging excessive force. On Sept. 21, 2017, Dole, who was being held on charges of second degree burglary and violation of a restraining order, was involved in a physical altercation with other inmates at CJC. As a result, he suffered a broken back and broken jaw. He was placed in a segregated cell and given a liquid diet due to his jaw being wired shut. On Sept. 24, he was given a meal that wasn't a liquid diet and might have contained food he is allergic to. After he argued with a deputy, several deputies applied "unnecessary physical force despite knowing" about Dole's injuries. At one point, the claim letter says, "a deputy intentionally and purposefully placed his hands directly on Mr. Dole's broke jaw and shoved it against the wall in the cell." His mother later sought a video of the incident but a county attorney told her the video could only be released to an attorney. The video ultimately was released to an attorney on March 27, 2018. Damages sought: $75,000.
Madelyn Taylor - COURTESY EPSO
  • Courtesy EPSO
  • Madelyn Taylor
Alynne and Vance Hemphill submitted a claim on June 29 on behalf of an infant for whom they serve as guardians, called W.L.H. in the claim, who was born in CJC to Madelyn Taylor Hemphill on Oct. 11, 2017. This claim was first reported by the Gazette. Hemphill was being held on a drug possession charge in an isolation cell. Although she called for assistance from jailers when she went into labor, she got no help and "was forced into the position of giving birth on her own." The child was born in a toilet where she inhaled the water, resulting in a urine-based e-coli infection. As a result, the claims says, the child suffers from developmental delays, the full extent of which are not yet known. Damages sought: $387,000.

  • Courtesy EPSO
  • Don Woodson
Don Woodson submitted a claim on Aug. 8 alleging CJC deputies "negligently, wantonly and intentionally failed to administer the proper medical procedures and take [Woodson] to get the proper medical care." Woodson was treated at a local hospital for injured the claim says were caused by CSPD officers and for medical problems caused by CJC employees, including an intracranial hemorrhage, dog bite, broken ribs, multiple lacerations and bruises and the loss of his leg. Woodson had been booked into jail on second degree kidnapping and second degree assault charges. Damages sought: $15 million.

Survivors of Kenneth and Dorothy Wuerfele submitted a claim Aug. 20, alleging their parents were killed on July 24 on Highway 24 in a crash caused by Deputy Quinlan Linebaugh, who was driving a marked patrol car. When he attempted to pass, he struck another vehicle, which then collided with the Wuerfeles' vehicle. (Linebaugh was placed on unpaid administrative leave before he was later fired; he's since been charged with two misdemeanors in connection with the crash.) Damages sought: "To be determined at a future date."

Vincent Motley - COURTESY EPSO
  • Courtesy EPSO
  • Vincent Motley
Vincent Motley submitted a claim on Aug. 24, alleging he was not given the proper care after the jail staff acknowledged that he was disabled. Due to the disability, he was placed on a lower level bunk restriction, which lasted from Oct. 1, 2017, to March 4, 2018, when he was assigned a top bunk. He then fell from the bunk and suffered symptoms similar to a concussion. He was being held on a charge of crimes against at-risk adults and juveniles — unlawful sexual contact. Since the fall, he's suffered from symptoms consistent with a traumatic brain injury. "Put simply, the jail owed Mr. Motley a duty, which was breached, and the breach was the direct and proximate cause of Mr. Motley's injuries," the claim letter says. Damages sought: $125,000.

All of the claimants are represented by attorneys.

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