It's bad enough to be detained for a crime you didn't commit; it's worse when that detention leads to nearly three weeks in the back of a van, deprived of a bathroom. The Washington Post reports a Virginia man is suing for just that, saying he was arrested in September 2016 in Winchester, Va., with a cop telling him the car he was driving had been reported stolen in Houston. He was then extradited to Texas in an 18-day trip in a private prison transport van. Edward Kovari's suit—filed against Brevard Extraditions, Prisoner Transportation Services of America, and its parent company, Prisoner Transportation Services—says he and the 15 or so others crammed in the van received small water rations and occasional fast food, that he was denied his hypertension meds, and that, due to no bathroom breaks, he spent much of the seven-state trip sitting in his own and others' waste.
An editor for a prisoner legal publication tells the AP conditions like these are common in the private prison transport arena, as the goal is to pick up as many prisoners around the nation as possible for "cost efficiency." (The Marshall Project has previously investigated this "deadly world," including PTS' role.) When Kovari finally arrived in Houston, he couldn't walk and his blood pressure had spiked to above 200 (a systolic number above 130 is considered high). "The realization that this could happen to potentially anyone is frightening," one of the attorneys for Kovari, now 39, tells the Post. The charges against Kovari were eventually dismissed. His suit alleges negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of his 14th Amendment rights. (Read more lawsuit stories.)