Crystal Blagaich Died At DuPage County Jail
Wrongful Death - June 19, 2023
Inmate Crystal Blagaich Died After Being Found Unresponsive In Her Jail Cell At The DuPage County Correctional Center
WHEATON, ILLINOIS (June 19, 2023) – A 42-year-old woman identified as Crystal Blagaich has tragically died after being found unresponsive in her DuPage County Jail cell.
DuPage County officials are saying that the incident began on Friday. A deputy was conducting her regular rounds when she discovered Crystal Blagaich unresponsive in her cell.
Deputies administered several doses of Narcan and began performing CPR. They also used an Automated External Defibrillator in an effort to try to revive her.
Crystal Blagaich was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. This is the second death at a DuPage County jail in June.
A little over one week ago Reneyda Aguilar-Hurtado died after also being found unresponsive in her cell. Correctional officers failed to give her medical care even after she was discovered to be sitting in a pool of her own vomit in her cell.
A full investigation into both deaths remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For DuPage County Inmate Deaths
Overdoses in custody remain a significant cause of inmate death. The number of inmates who have died from an overdose in state prisons has risen dramatically since 2001. According to National Public Radio, “From 2001 to 2018, the number of people who have died of drug or alcohol intoxication in state prisons rose more than 600%, according to an analysis of newly-released data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.” There are a number of signs that correctional officers should look for which could indicate an inmate is experiencing a drug overdose.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Blue or purple lips or fingertips.
- Respiratory arrest.
- Slurred speech.
Correctional officers should be looking for signs that an inmate is going through an overdose or some other type of medical distress. Inmates have a right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. When a jail fails to give an inmate adequate care, this is a deprivation of their right to equal protection and due process. If a jail fails to give an inmate proper care before or after an inmate experienced a drug overdose, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.
Consider, for example, the 2020 death of inmate Elissa Lindhorst in a Madison County jail. She was suffering from opioid withdrawal and died four days after being admitted to the jail. Correctional officers witnessed her deteriorating health but failed to give her adequate care. Her family members eventually reached a settlement with the Madison County Board. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any in custody death.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- An autopsy may need to be performed.
- Jail records of the incident should be reviewed.
The vast majority of overdose deaths in jails are totally preventable. There are measures that jails can take to prevent these incidents. Among other things, all inmates should have a thorough health screening before being admitted into the jail. The family of any inmate that died in custody may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. It is crucial that all evidence is preserved after any incident. Evidence is what will ultimately be used to determine liability.
Investigating DuPage County Inmate Deaths
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Crystal Blagaich. There needs to be a thorough investigation and accountability for what took place. This is the second DuPage County inmate death within the last couple of days. It is our hope that measures are taken to make this jail safer so that similar tragedies can be averted.
Do you need more information about a DuPage County inmate death? Our team of inmates rights advocates are committed to making Illinois jails a safer place and helping families get the information and resources that they are entitled to. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.