Theran Stai, who is mentally ill, was reportedly beaten by his fellow inmates at the Beltrami County Jail in Minnesota in 2013.
Stai was injured by the prisoners so badly he had to be transferred from a hospital in Beltrami County to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis for jaw reconstruction surgery.
Beltrami County authorities drove Stai to the out-of-town hospital and dropped him off. Stai had surgery on Sept. 11, 2013, and was released from the hospital the next day.
But Beltrami County authorities never came back to pick up Stai, according his federal lawsuit against the county.
Stai, who suffers from schizophrenia, psychosis and various addictions, had to find his own way back to Beltrami County, which is 188 miles away, claims the suit.
Stai reportedly walked for six days, caught a ride from a friend and eventually ended up in a Beltrami County trailer park, where police found him during an unrelated call on Oct. 20, 2013.
"He slept in the woods, he slept on the side of the road, he hitchhiked for a bit, but mostly he walked," Stai's lawyer, Bill Lubov, told City Pages.
Stai's $1 million civil trial against Beltrami County began last week.
According to the Star Tribune, documentation showed that Beltrami County Judge John Melbye released Stai from custody so that Beltrami County would not have to pay for his medical bills, but in doing so stranded Stai in Minneapolis.
Judge Melbye claimed that a deputy originally contacted him at home about Stai's being transferred to Minneapolis for surgery, but the judge admitted that he made his decision without checking Stai’s files.
“This is just how we’ve done it in the past,” Melbye said. “It’s irrelevant who’s going to pay the bill, to me. This was about medical necessity.”
Stai allegedly developed an infection in his jaw, lost several toenails and drank alcohol to deal with the pain during his journey back.
Sources: City Pages, Star Tribune / Image Credit: Beltrami County Media Handout