Letter to the Editor

Reader expresses concern for neighbor

Sunday, June 8, 2008

To the Editor:

As I am sure most readers and residents of Brazil are aware, there was a police chase that took place June 4 that ended in the fleeing driver hitting two utility poles. What most people aren't aware of is that the entire incident could have been prevented had certain mental health institutions had done their job.

June 1, my neighbor, whom I had never had any problems with, had never even exchanged words with, began exhibiting odd and disturbing behavior. Out of respect for privacy, I will not go into detail about what exactly she was doing. I will simply say it made it impossible for my family to sleep and made us fearful of what she might do. We aren't the type of people to make trouble for others, so we left it alone until these activities proved to be harmful, at which time we called the police and an officer was sent over right away.

When the officer arrived, he informed me he would do all he could to get her help. She was taken into custody with the intention of her being monitored for 24 hours by a mental health professional and either released or treatment started.

She pulled up to her house mere hours later in a taxi. I was later told by a 911 dispatcher, when I called to report more of the disturbing behavior, that she was released because none of the facilities contacted would take her. I was later informed that the reason the facilities would not take her was because she did not have insurance. I was told by someone with a relative that works at one of the facilities contacted in this case that if you don't have insurance then you are sane, and if you do, then you are nuts.

Had my neighbor been properly evaluated than I do not believe that she would have been home to commit the misdemeanor offense she was originally going to be charged with until she resisted arrest, attempted to run over the arresting officer twice and proceeded to flee at a high rate of speed, which ended with her slamming her car into two utility poles.

I am completely disgusted with the events that led up to what occurred on June 4 and feel that many lives were put at risk needlessly because these mental health facilities are more concerned with making millions and not the safety and welfare of the people that need them most.

I would like to thank the Clay County Sheriff's Department for answering all of my calls, making my family's well being a priority and for doing everything they could to get this woman the help she needed. I know I will probably spell their names wrong, but a special thank you to officer's Switzer and Best. They are truly wonderful caring officers and I am very grateful to have them out there keeping my family safe.


Jennifer Radford,