CORYDON, Ind. (WAVE) - Justice for Jerod, that’s the mission one mother is taking on following her son’s death at the Harrison County Jail last year.
Vicki Budd is hoping that speaking up will bring answers and transparency from the sheriff’s department about the death of her son, Jerod Draper.
Friday, Oct. 4, will mark one year since Draper’s death. Budd is inviting family and friends out to Corydon for a memorial service Friday night to remember her son’s life while pushing for answers about what happened in the Harrison County Jail that led to his death.
“I still can’t believe what happened to him in that jail,” Budd said.
Budd said Draper was a good son and a great father.
“Filled with joy and good times and fun, he was a fun kid,” Budd said.
For years, Draper battled addiction. He was picked up last October, taken to the Harrison County Jail for suicidal behavior, possibly intoxicated. Early in the morning while she was in Florida, she got a message from her son, Budd said, telling her he was in the Harrison County Jail. She thought he’d relapsed but was relieved to hear he was in jail and wouldn’t be able to buy or take more drugs.
“He’s in jail, so he’s safe,” Budd said. “You think it’s a safe place.”
In a statement the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department released last year, it said Draper became agitated and was placed in a restraint chair. At one point, he began banging his head against the back of the chair.
Budd said she believes he was being loud in his cell at the time.
“They decided the thing to do to get him to stop screaming was tase him, multiple times,” she said.
The sheriff’s department said in its 2018 release that deputies deployed the taser in an attempt to gain compliance.
“I understand he quieted down and he was left there until someone finally checked on him and they realized he was not responsive,” Budd said.
Draper was taken to a hospital in Louisville where he later died. Budd said he was kept in shackles during the transportation and treatment at the hospital, even after he had passed away.
In a notice of tort claim, it lists the autopsy as finding Draper had “suffered acute poisoning from methamphetamine overdose.” Draper’s mother said instead of getting her son the help he needed, the jail’s lack of care led to his death.
That notice of tort claim was sent to Harrison County leaders in 2018 following Draper’s death. In the coming weeks, a federal lawsuit is expected to be filed, alleging Draper’s constitutional rights were violated when jail staff showed deliberate indifference to the detainee’s medical needs.
Budd said filing this suit isn’t about money or damages, it’s about holding the jail staff accountable for their actions, and ensuring the community knows exactly what happened to her son.
“But we intend to shine a light on what happened to Jerod,” Budd said.
WAVE 3 News reached out to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, and the attorney hired in the case; both declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
There will be a one-year memorial service in Draper’s honor on Friday at Oak Grove Cemetery at 6:45 p.m.