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Morgan Angerbauer

A March 2020 trial date is scheduled in a civil suit stemming from the July 1, 2016, death of a 20-year-old diabetic in the Bi-State Justice Building jail.

Morgan Angerbauer died of diabetic ketoacidosis in the early hours of July 1, 2016.

Former licensed vocational nurse Brittany Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide in November 2017 and was ordered to serve six months in the Miller County jail. She lost her nursing license as well.

Angerbauer asked Johnson to check her sugar around 5:15 p.m. on June 30, 2016. But Johnson refused, telling Angerbauer that staff, not detainees, decide when medical attention occurs, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Angerbauer banged on the door of her cell for hours, allegedly begging Johnson to check her blood sugar. A jail trusty noticed Angerbauer unconscious on the floor of her cell, a medical observation space just 20 feet from the nurse's station, at about 4 a.m. on July 1, 2016. It had been more than 17 hours since her last blood sugar check.

Johnson was unable to obtain a numerical reading using blood sugar testing equipment and misinterpreted a reading as an error rather than as indicative of a dangerously high sugar level. Johnson administered glucose, or pure sugar, as Angerbauer slipped deeper into unconsciousness. A medical examiner's report puts Angerbauer's sugar level at 813. A normal blood sugar range is 70 to 110.

Jail surveillance footage shows Johnson waited as long as 45 minutes before calling 911, despite Angerbauer's physical crisis. When paramedics did arrive, it was too late.

Since then, filings in Angerbauer's civil suit and in the case of Michael Sabbie, who died in the jail about a year before, allege LaSalle Corrections, the private company contracted to manage the jail, routinely violates its own medical protocols and trains correctional officers to fill out sheets documenting cell checks at the beginning of their shifts before and despite whether the checks are actually done.

Angerbauer was arrested June 28, 2016, on a motion to revoke probation filed in Miller County alleging administrative violations such as failure to complete court-ordered programs.

An October trial date set in the case has been reset at the request of both the plaintiff and defense. An order scheduling the case for jury selection March 16, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III was filed last week.

Angerbauer's estate is represented by Texarkana lawyer David Carter. Texarkana lawyer Paul Miller is representing LaSalle.

 

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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