Man Trapped in Cook County Jail for More Than 30 Hours While Visiting Son

Cook County Jail spokesperson Cara Smith called the incident "the perfect storm"

Thursday, Jul 10, 2014  |  Updated 5:56 AM CDT
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Jail officials explain how incident happened.

Jail officials explain how incident happened.

Authorities are investigating after a man was accidentally trapped inside Cook County Jail for more than 30 hours while attempting to visit his son over the weekend.

The man was visiting his son, who is awaiting trial on a drug case, early Saturday evening and was taken to a part of the Chicago jail he'd never been after his son was moved.

After being directed to "go down the hallway and turn to the right," he entered a door that had been propped open and shut it behind him, according to Cook County Jail spokesperson Cara Smith.

The man thought he was entering the visiting area to see his son, but the room is reportedly where people visit the “highest classification” super-maximum security prisoners and is not used on the weekends, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The door was propped open because contractors were installing cameras, Smith said.

Smith called the incident “the perfect storm” and said “a set of bizarre circumstances” allowed it to take place.

The man was stuck in the room for roughly 30 hours. He was rescued after he broke a sprinkler head and was found by firefighters with the Chicago Fire Department around 1 a.m. Monday.

The man needed stitches on one of his thumbs from breaking the sprinkler and was treated at Rush University Medical Center.

“I met him at the hospital and he was exceptionally gracious and grateful to be out of the room,” Smith said. “We expressed how sorry we were and gave him a ride back to his vehicle [at the jail].”

Smith said an incident like that has never happened before and hopes it never happens again.

The Cook County Department of Corrections says its facility is one of the largest of its kind in the country. It covers eight city blocks and houses about 9,000 inmates.


 

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