A federal lawsuit filed in March alleges that David Stojcevski, 32, of Roseville, who was serving time for failing to pay a traffic ticket, died in the Macomb County Jail last year after serving 17 days as result of neglect on the part of guards and medical staff, WDIV reports.
Stojcevski was charged with obstruction of justice as part of careless driving charge. When he failed to pay the $772 fine last year, the judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail.
Kevin Dietz of WDIV reports that the man lost 50 pounds in 17 days and was in a high-observation unit and the cell was under 24-hour surveillance. A videotape shows his body twitching, as he goes into drug withdrawal, lying on the floor naked, and nothing was done. Prisoners in that unit can't wear clothes for their own protection.
The family lawsuit states that Stojcevski had been seeing a doctor to beat addiction and had been prescribed methadone, xanax and another medication. Without these drugs, the body can go into severe withdrawal, Dietz reports.
Dietz reports that a nurse evaluated him and recommended he be placed in a medical drug detox unit. Instead, he was put in a jail cell. Six days later, he was acting erratic and moved to a mental health cell and put under suicide watch where his activities were under video surveillance
Near the end, before he died, he was visibly thinner and no longer had the strength to call for help, Dietz reports. In his final two days of life, Dietz reports, Stojcevski never got off the cold cement floor in his cell and was gasping for his final breaths.
Dietz says in his report:
It is a hard thing to watch a man die, especially when it could have been prevented.
WDIV's medical expert, Dr. Frank McGeorge, who has been classified as an expert in custody death cases, tells Dietz that there is no reason for an incarcerated person who was watched for this period of time to die in custody.
"He should have had medical attention," McGeorge says.
"People do not die from withdrawal all the time," McGeorge says. "They die from withdrawal when there is neglect associated with it."
The Macomb County Sheriff's Department, which runs the jail, declined comment because of the pending litigation, Dietz reports.