A woman having a life-threatening stroke was arrested at gunpoint in the US after a police officer suspected she was drink driving.
Nicole Maclure was then kept in a cell at Thurston County Jail, Washington state for 24 hours and not given medical attention, despite vomiting and being unable to stand.
After finally being seen by a medic, she was taken to hospital where doctors removed part of her skull to relieve pressure in her brain caused by a brain bleed.
Ms Maclure, who according to her lawyer Anne Vankirk has been left with a ‘severe’ brain injury, is now suing the jail for ignoring her symptoms.
Her civil rights lawsuit says trooper Jonathan Barnes tried to stop Ms McClure on February 1, 2022 by flashing his lights after he noticed her driving too slowly and wandering out of her lane.
But Ms McClure, who was on her way home from work having left early as she felt unwell, kept driving slowly until she collided with a roundabout.
In video footage, the trooper can be seen running towards her car, pointing his gun and shouting, ‘Get out the car, get out the car!’
Ms McClure after surgeons had to remove part of her skull (Picture: Dubin Law Group)
The then 38-year-old gets out and Barnes pushes her onto his vehicle hood to handcuff her, while accusing her of eluding police.
He repeatedly asks if she has been drinking and she says she hasn’t, mentioningthe last time was about 12 hours ago.
He then asks: ‘When’s the last time you used meth? and ‘When was the last time you used heroin?’
‘I haven’t — I don’t,’ she says, clearly distressed, adding: ‘I’m confused. I think I’m tired.’
Barnes trying to put handcuffs on Ms McClure as she’s pushed against the car bonnet (Picture: Dubin Law Group)
Barnes pointing the gun at Ms Mclure as he yells at her to get out of the car (Picture: Dubin Law Group)
She also tells him she feels dizzy.
Barnes then arrests Ms McClure on suspicion of intoxicated driving and felony evading.
The lawsuit alleges the trooper also didn’t call medics to the scene despite the vehicle crash.
He did take her to a hospital, but for blood tests to determine whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Barnes didn’t tell hospital staff that McClure had been in a crash, the lawsuit says.
Ms McClure in hospital where she had part of her skull removed (Picture: KTRE)
It also claims that in his written report, the trooper crossed out a section detailing a series of health and medical questions and wrote ‘Did not ask’.
After the blood test — which the lawsuit says later showed Ms McClure had no drugs or alcohol in her system — Barnes took her to Thurston County Jail.
It’s alleged she received no medical attention at the jail for over 24 hours despite asking for help, vomiting and not being able to stand.
‘Nicole recalls being laughed at and told she should “Have another shot”,’ Ms Vankirk said.
Ms McClure was kept in a cell for around 24 hours at Thurston County Jail (Picture: Carlos Bedoya/KTRE)
Eventually Ms McClure – now 40 – was taken to a hospital, where she underwent emergency brain surgery and was hospitalised for 17 days.
Ms Vankirk added: ‘Nicole [now] suffers from severe traumatic brain injury and remains unable to care for herself or engage with life in meaningful ways.
‘Had Nicole received immediate medical attention, her condition would have been significantly easier to treat and the outcome far less severe.’
Chris Loftis, a Washington State Patrol spokesperson, said the agency is aware of the lawsuit but doesn’t comment on pending litigation. He said Barnes wasn’t disciplined.
Barnes wrote ‘Did not ask’ on the medical section of the arrest report (Picture: Carlos Bedoya)
Barnes and another police officer with Ms McClure who is being held over the car bonnet (Picture: Carlos Bedoya)
A call from The Associated Press news agency to the state patrol union asking for a comment from Barnes was redirected to Mr Loftis.
Tara Tsehlana, a spokesperson for the Thurston County prosecuting attorney’s office, which defends the jail, said the county has been served with the lawsuit.
‘While we can’t discuss the specifics of any pending litigation, I can confirm that the safety of inmates, staff, and the general public remains a top priority for the Thurston County Corrections Facility,’ she said.
In September, a woman out on a hen night in Edinburgh thought her drink had been spiked, but she was actually having a stroke.
Joanna Whitelaw, 27, was celebrating her friend’s upcoming wedding, in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, when her body ‘suddenly went numb’ and her vision blurred.
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