A traffic offense turned into a horrific experience for a pregnant woman in Georgia. After being arrested for driving with a suspended license, Jessica Preston was held in jail, despite being eight months pregnant. When she went into labor a month early, jail staff ignored Preston’s requests to go to a hospital, forcing her to deliver her child on the dirty floor of a cell, according to WDIV.
Preston asked three times to be taken to the hospital, informing medical staff at Macomb County Jail that she was about to give birth. But the staff didn’t believe her, and they refused. The baby, Elijha, was born weighing less than five pounds.
Preston’s mother, Linda Preston, was outraged. “They just left her (to) lay there,” she told WDIV. “They didn’t care. They just kept saying she wasn’t having the baby, and I don’t know how anybody could say when she was bleeding, ‘You’re not having a baby,’ and that they didn’t send her to the hospital. Who makes that call?”
The baby’s father, Thomas Chastain, missed his son’s birth. “I didn’t get to cut the cord, I didn’t get to hold him,” he said.
Preston’s first child was delivered via emergency C-section, and Elijha’s birth was planned to be done as a C-section for the mother’s safety. Unfortunately, she was unable to do that, since she couldn’t go to the hospital. The baby is reportedly healthy.
Preston, who did not have a prior criminal record, had to go to Macomb County jail when a judge set $10,000 cash bond for her case and she didn’t have the money. She was ordered to remain in custody until her next court date, which was set for five days later. It’s unclear why the judge set such high bail for a first time offense, or why Preston’s license was suspended.
The Macomb County Jail has garnered attention for other troubling incidents that resulted in an investigation. In 2013, 37-year-old mother Jennifer Meyers died of sepsis after being sentenced to 30 days for not paying child support. She developed a fever, and cell mates reportedly tried to treat her with wet cloths while seeking proper treatment, but the jail wouldn’t take her to the hospital. Meyers died after 12 days. The following year, David Stojcevski was hit with a 30-day sentence for missing a court date on a careless driving ticket, and died 17 days in from withdrawal of prescribed medication. He lost 50 pounds during that time, yet staff didn’t take him to the hospital, despite being able to watch his condition deteriorate on security video.
LawNewz.com reached out to Macomb County Community Corrections for comment, but they have yet to respond.