An inmate accused of stealing automotive fluid and a pack of gum now faces felony charges, after authorities say she bit a guard at the Washington County Detention Center during an attack.
Summer Jones, 34, of Fayetteville was being held in a temporary holding cell on misdemeanor suspicion of shoplifting at a Fayetteville gas station on Tuesday (June 10), when she attacked a Washington County Detention Center correctional officer, according to court documents.
Jones suddenly started screaming and banging on her cell door when a guard went to talk to her. She screamed that she needed to be taken to a hospital. While she was talking to the guard, she attempted to wrap her hair around her neck and choke herself, court documents state.
The guard opened the cell door and went inside to prevent Jones from choking herself, and that was when investigators said Jones struck the guard in the face with a closed fist. The guard's eyeglasses were broken, and her head hit the cement wall of the cell, according to court documents.
When other deputies entered the cell to assist the guard, Jones spit in the original guard's face and on another guard, the documents state. When the original guard forced Jones' face away to prevent any more spitting, Jones bit the guard's hand hard enough to leave bruises, according to the documents.
"Jones indicated that she had a mental illness of some form or fashion," said Sheriff Tim Helder. "Jones also indicated that she was under the care of a mental professional and that she wanted to go to the hospital, because of that."
The Washington County Sheriff's Office completed a study in 2008 showing mental illness is not uncommon among inmates.
"It was determined that at least 25-percent of the population that comes through our facility are either suffering from mental illness, have some form of mental disease or are under the care of a mental care professional," Helder said.
Helder said officials are working to address the issue.
"We are in the process of contracting our medical handling our coverage here at the detention center," he said.
Jones faces charges of public intoxication, shoplifting, endangering the welfare of a minor, aggravated assault upon an employee of a correctional facility and three counts of battery, according to court documents.