Anna Chris Dominguez, a 24-year-old woman with liver disease who was discovered passed out in her vehicle and told a police officer she had ingested Percocet and alcohol, received a padded mat in a jail cell instead of a hospital bed.
Six hours after she was brought to the Greensboro jail, Dominguez was dead.
Prior to her arrest, Guilford Metro 911 directed Guilford County EMS to respond when she was found passed out in a vehicle in northeast Greensboro, according to a new report from sheriff’s office.
A detailed timeline released by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday covering the seven hours leading up to the 24-year-old woman’s death indicates that a person who called Guilford Metro 911 reported that a vehicle was stopped in the roadway at 11:07 p.m. on Oct. 15. According to the report, Dominguez responded with slurred speech when the caller roused her, but the person could not determine whether she was intoxicated or suffering from a medical condition. As a result of the description, the call was directed to EMS.
But six minutes later, Dominguez told a Greensboro police officer who had arrived on the scene that she didn’t need medical treatment, and the request for EMS was canceled by radio.
Ron Glenn, the public information officer for the Greensboro Police Department, told Triad City Beat that the officer’s decision to cancel the request for EMS was driven by Dominguez’s wishes.
“If she refuses EMS treatment, then at that time they would cancel EMS treatment, which is what happened,” Glenn said.
The account released by the sheriff’s office also discloses for the first time that Dominguez was taken to Moses Cone Hospital under the custody of the Greensboro Police Department for a blood draw before she was booked into the Greensboro jail.
Anna Dominguez’s wife, Maquaito Dominguez, has previously told Triad City Beat that Anna was a “heavy alcoholic” and that she had planned to get medical treatment for a damaged liver.
Dominguez was charged with driving while impaired and possession of a controlled substance, along with operating a motor vehicle without insurance and registration after police responded to the scene on Oct. 15. The report by the sheriff’s office indicates that Dominguez told the arresting officer that she had taken “one Percocet and some amount of alcohol” earlier in the evening.
Percocet is a combination of Oxycodone, a prescription opioid, and Acetaminophen, a pain reliever that is found in many over-the-counter medications like Tylenol. The Federal Drug Administration warns that Percocet should not be taken with alcohol, and that combining the two “can cause dangerous additive central nervous system or respiratory depression, which can result in serious injury or death.” The FDA also warns that “precaution should be taken in patients with liver disease,” adding that “hepatotoxicity and severe hepatic failure [has] occurred in chronic alcoholics following therapeutic doses.”
After Dominguez declined medical treatment at the scene where she was found passed out in her vehicle, the report by the sheriff’s office indicates that she failed a field sobriety test administered by the police officer, but two portable breath tests came back with a 0.0 reading. The report goes on to say Dominguez consented to a blood draw.
Asked why the police officer did not ensure that Dominguez received medical treatment considering the circumstances, Glenn noted that she was taken to the hospital.
“When they responded to the scene, she noted what she ingested,” Glenn said. “She was given a Breathalyzer, and it came back with a zero reading. They took her to the hospital to determine what she ingested.
“She was conscious when the officer was dealing with her,” Glenn continued. “She was taken to Moses Cone Hospital to be evaluated. Once she was released by Cone Hospital, she was transported to Guilford County Jail.” (TCB has not independently confirmed that Dominguez received any evaluation at the hospital.)
Glenn said the police “would follow the advice of any medical expert” if staff were to recommend that someone in police custody remain in the hospital.
TCB has requested an explanation from Cone Health for why Dominguez was not kept overnight in the hospital. Doug Allred, the external communications manager for the hospital system, told TCB on Tuesday evening that he would pass along the inquiry, with the proviso that the information might be restricted under patient confidentiality law.
Instead of staying overnight at Moses Cone Hospital, Anna Dominguez went to jail.
The timeline provided by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office indicates a noticeable deterioration in Dominguez’s condition an hour after her arrival at the jail shortly after midnight.
Initially, the report says, when Dominguez entered the intake area at 12:22 a.m., she was not handcuffed and walked without assistance, and also that she “changed seats several times while waiting to be seen by the magistrate.”
But by 1:22 a.m., when she was finally able to approach the magistrate’s window for her initial appearance hearing, the sheriff’s office reports that “she was unsteady on her feet.” In its initial press release about Dominguez’s death, the sheriff’s office said, “Due to her level of intoxication, the magistrate’s office ordered her into the custody of the Guilford County Jail, and that she be brought back before them at 12 noon or when sober for a hearing and to sign a written promise to appear.”
A statement previously provided to TCB by Lori Poag, a communications specialist for the sheriff’s office, also suggests Dominguez’s speech was impaired. Poag said at the time that when a staff member asked Dominguez for a family contact during her intake interview, “she was so intoxicated she could not give a name they could understand.” The time of the intake interview is not noted in the timeline released by the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.
For another hour, the report indicates, Dominguez sat in the intake area.
Then, at 2:20 a.m., according to the report, she entered the booking area, and a minute later was placed in a single-person holding cell. Three minutes later, a detention officer opened the door and handed Dominguez a padded mat to sleep on.
The first mention of any medical attention at the jail is 2:25 a.m., when the report says a detention officer escorted her “to the nearby nurse’s station, where Ms. Dominguez [had] some of her vital signs checked.”
The timeline says Dominguez was returned to her holding cell, where a detention officer brought her a cup of water at 2:29 a.m.
Maquaito Dominguez has told TCB that a detective with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office told her that, based on a review of video, Anna Dominguez “took her last breath at 2:30.”
A detention officer would discover Anna Dominguez unresponsive in the cell at 5:15 a.m.
“From 2:30 to 5, what the hell were they doing?” Maquaito asked.
James Secor, the attorney for the sheriff’s office, has strongly disputed Maquaito’s account and maintains that she inaccurately depicted Detective Amanda Fleming’s report to her. Maquaito Dominguez has stood behind her initial statement. After learning that the sheriff’s attorney was disputing her account, she told TCB on Oct. 23 that she would be willing to take a lie detector test.
The timeline provided by the sheriff’s office indicates that detention officers checked on Dominguez three times during routine watch rounds — at 2:34 a.m., 3:42 a.m. and 4:40 a.m.
Additionally, the report says, a nurse looked into the holding cell at 2:43 a.m., and then again at 2:56 a.m. accompanied by a detention officer.
Video recorded by a camera in the holding cell shows Dominguez “breathing at least up until 4:46 a.m.,” the report from the sheriff’s office notes in a passage printed in bold for emphasis.
At 5:15 a.m., the report says, a detention officer brought a breakfast tray to the holding cell and attempted to wake up Dominguez and found her unresponsive. The sheriff’s office said another detention officer detected a pulse for Dominguez. At 5:19 a.m., detention staff called 911 and requested EMS. At 5:20 a.m., staff initiated CPR. At 5:25 a.m., first responders from the Greensboro Fire Department arrived, followed by EMS and they took over CPR. They moved her out of the cell and continued to attempt CPR in the booking area.
At 6:04 a.m., she was placed in an ambulance.
At 6:13 a.m., Dominguez arrived back at Moses Cone Hospital. By that time, she was dead.