The Crow Wing County Board settled threatened litigation Tuesday regarding a 24-year-old Brainerd man who hanged himself in the Crow Wing County Jail in March 2002.
The county board agreed to pay the funeral expenses for Matthew Hines, who hanged himself. The county will pay $8,726.50 to Halvorson-Johnson Funeral Home in Brainerd. Of this amount, the county's insurance company, Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, will pay $3,900. The board also agreed to pay Hines' medical expenses.
County Attorney Don Ryan said even though the family did not actually legally sue the county he believes the settlement is fair.
Hines was being held in the shower room because the holding cell was full. A preliminary investigation showed Hines used a drawstring from his pants and hanged himself in a shower stall. Hines was taken to St. Cloud Hospital where he died the next morning.
Hines was arrested by Crow Wing County sheriff's deputies for a violation of an order for protection and he was transported to the county jail.
The settlement money will come out of the sheriff's budget.
In other county business, commissioners:
Heard out-of-home placements are $60,831 over budget.
Decided to close the courthouse and county offices at noon Dec. 24.
Agreed to hire a technical clerk and an accountant in the auditor's office.
Renewed the annual coroner's contract with Dr. Janis Amatuzio, forensic pathologist with Midwest Forensic Pathology in Coon Rapids. The county paid $124,218 this year for the contract and will pay $127,696 in 2004.
Heard from County Planner Bonnie Finnerty about the comprehensive plan progress. Finnerty said the Comprehensive Planning Committee is wrapping up the review process on the draft plan and it is ready for public review. Finnerty said she needed the board's direction on how to proceed with the public review.
The board decided to have a joint meeting with the Crow Wing County Planning Commission on the draft plan and then to attend the public hearings.
After the public hearing, the planning commission would review the draft plan and then make a recommendation for the county board.
The county's goal is to have a completed comprehensive plan approved by the county board by the end of the year and to have the zoning and the subdivision ordinances updated in 2004.
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