A former nurse at the Anderson County Detention Facility has been charged with filing a false report in the death of a prisoner in July 2014, authorities said.
An autopsy revealed that the prisoner, Christopher C. Sullivan, died accidentally from a combination of alcohol and morphine, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said in a press release.
An indictment against the former nurse, Billy Joe Brockman, 49, of Clinton, “indicates that he unlawfully reported to Anderson County Sheriff’s Department investigators that he had measured and recorded the vital signs of Christopher C. Sullivan while knowing that he had, in fact, not measured or recorded the information,” Clark said.
Sullivan had been arrested by the Oak Ridge Police Department just after midnight on July 4, 2014, on two charges of possession of a schedule II controlled substance, one charge of public intoxication, and two charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“Although appearing impaired, Sullivan was able to walk, talk, write, and successfully complete the booking process, and (he) was detained in a holding cell located near the booking area of the Detention Facility,” Clark said. “Sullivan appeared to lay down on a bench and go to sleep.
“Approximately 3.5 hours later, a corrections officer tried to wake Sullivan and found that he was unresponsive. Emergency medical intervention was unsuccessful and Christopher Sullivan passed away.”
The Sheriff’s Department notified the coroner and the district attorney general, and the sheriff investigated the death before the case was presented to the DA. The DA presented it to the Anderson County Grand Jury on March 3, and Brockman was arrested on the felony charge on Tuesday, the release said.
Clark said Brockman was a nurse employed by Advanced Correctional Healthcare Incorporated. Anderson County has a contract with that company to provide medical care to prisoners at the Anderson County Detention Facility.
“As a result of the initial report and the Sheriff’s Office investigation, it is believed that Billy Joe Brockman was separated from employment with the medical service provider prior to the matter being considered by the Grand Jury,” the release said. It said the case will also be referred to the Tennessee Board of Nursing “for its consideration for action with respect to the nursing license of Billy Joe Brockman.”
The case is pending in the Anderson County Circuit and Criminal Court, and Brockman has been released on a $25,000 bond. His arraignment has been set for 9 a.m. March 30.
The internal affairs investigation was directed by Investigations Sergeant Jeff Davis.
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