Father Trapped In Cook County Jail For 30 Hours

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) – A father who was visiting his son in the Cook County Jail was trapped in one of the jail’s rooms from Saturday evening to early Monday.

The man came to visit his son, whose name was not being released, early Saturday evening, said Cara Smith, executive director of the jail.

His son had been transferred from the Division 11 holding area at 3015 S. Calfornia Blvd. to Division 9 — an area he’d never been to — which is on the compound of the jail at 2854 W. 31st St, Smith said.

When he entered, the father was processed and directed to “go down the hallway and turn to the right.” But he went through the wrong visitor door, which was propped open and shut behind the man, Smith said. A contractor had been installing new cameras in the room earlier in the day.

The door and walls to that room are too thick for anyone to have heard the man banging to let him out, Smith said.

“There’s about two feet of cement and two steel doors between him and the outside,” Smith said.

The man eventually broke off part of a sprinkler head early Monday, which caused flooding in the room and activated an alarm, Smith said. Firefighters responded about 1:30 a.m. and were able to free him. Smith said he had a minor injury to his thumb but was otherwise alright.

“While we thank God he’s safe, we’re looking at every single aspect of this case,” Smith said. “This has never happened, to my knowledge, before.”