WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – Waterbury police are limiting the use of their police transport vans following an incident where a man was badly injured in New Haven police custody, according to the police chief.
Last month, 36-year-old Richard “Randy” Cox was handcuffed in the back of a New Haven police transport van without any seat belts, when the van’s driver screeched to a halt, sending Cox flying off his bench. Cox hit his head, which resulted in him being paralyzed and hospitalized, according to Cox’s attorney and family.
In light of this incident, Waterbury’s Chief of Police Fernando Spagnolo said that he and Mayor Neil O’Leary have taken the city’s two transport vans off the roads, except for vital prisoner transports.
Waterbury transport vans used to run nearly 24/7 before the New Haven incident. According to Spagnolo, the vans were used to transport prisoners to a court or respond to large-scale incidents that included multiple arrests.
Spagnolo said his department is working on adding seatbelts to the vans. They hope to see these additions by the end of the summer, at which point the vans will be back on the road.
Reports said the training on how to use the new seatbelts will cost less than $2,000.