KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The father of an inmate who died by suicide is suing the Kalamazoo County Jail for what he says is gross negligence and failure to prevent his son’s death.
In Dec. of 2020, Chase Lovell died by suicide in his jail cell. His father, David Lovell, claims it was the responsibility of the jail to keep his son safe, as Chase Lovell had a history of mental illness.
According to court documents, David Lovell is taking legal action against Kalamazoo County, four deputies, a sergeant, the supervisor of the corrections recovery unit and Integrated Services of Kalamazoo — the county mental health program.
Chase Lovell had been receiving treatment at Ascension Borgess Hospital for five months after expressing suicidal thoughts to his mother. He would tell family and staff he was hearing voices. He also had a history of mental health issues, suicide attempts and self-harm behaviors, according to court documents.
On Dec. 15, 2020, he was arrested for arson after being accused of setting a fire. Chase Lovell was taken from the hospital to the Kalamazoo County Jail, court documents say.
Officials initially placed him in a padded cell and a suicide prevention gown with a sign posted in front of his cell to let staff know of his risk. He was also being monitored by a camera, documents say.
The next day, he was screened by the supervisor of the corrections recovery unit. According to court documents, Chase Lovell said that he was “having a lot of voices” and that they were “intermittent.” But he said he was not feeling suicidal at the time of the screening. Because of this, he was recommended to be moved out of the padded cell and suicide prevention gown, said court documents.
Chase Lovell was moved to a hospital cell and given a suicide prevention blanket and was still being monitored by camera. He was also given sheets and towels, which are not supposed to be provided to an inmate at risk of suicide, court documents say.
He was found unresponsive on Dec. 17, 2020.
In court documents, his father claims jail officials were negligent and did not check on his son as often as they should have. He says they should not have given him bedsheets and towels.
The defendants are set to appear in court 21 days after June 20, when the documents were filed.