After breaking back in jail, man says Kendall County Sheriff’s staff treated him ‘less than human’

Gabriel Miranda, 42, spent 19 days in the hospital after falling from jail cell top bunk

Kendall County, Texas – A man who broke his back in three places after falling from a top bunk inside a Kendall County jail cell in December has taken issue with how he was treated following the injury.

“It made me feel like I was less than human. It made me feel like a stray dog that you hit on the side of the road that you have to render aid had more rights that I did,” said Gabriel Miranda, 42.

Miranda turned himself in to officials on Dec. 10 to serve 72 hours in the county jail as part of a DWI plea agreement.

He said he protested having to sleep in a top bunk with no hand rails prior to the fall and had told detention officers he was too big to be up there, but was ordered to anyway.

Sometime before 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 11, Miranda fell as he tried to climb down from the top bunk.

Multiple angles of jail surveillance footage, released to the KSAT 12 Defenders in January following a records request, show Miranda land on his sock-covered feet and then onto his backside.

“I was very worried I was paralyzed. I remember tilting my head forward and looking at my feet and wiggling my toes just to make sure they would wiggle,” said Miranda.

Miranda, who can be seen in the footage on his back showing signs of extreme pain while fellow inmates and then detention officers check on him, was later taken by ambulance to an area emergency room.

Kendall County Sheriff's detention officers look at inmate Gabriel Miranda after he fell from a bunk Dec. 11. (KSAT)

Miranda said instead of loading him onto a backboard, medical personnel stood him up, causing his back to pop several more times before he was placed onto a gurney.

Body scans of Miranda later revealed a fractured sacrum and two lumbar fractures.

After initial tests were done at a Boerne emergency room, Miranda said a Kendall County deputy walked in carrying Miranda’s belongings in a trash bag and informed him that he had been released from their custody and care.

Interoffice memos provided to the Defenders by KCSO officials back up Miranda’s timeline of events and indicate that he was released from custody about 7:25 a.m., about two hours after the fall occurred.

Miranda, who was still incapacitated at the time, said he was forced to call his loved ones and inform them of what happened at the jail.

“They basically just dumped me and wiped their hands clean of me and never turned back,” said Miranda, referring to Kendall County jail staff.

He said jail officials have made no attempt to follow up with him since the fall took place.

KCSO officials declined to make a member of jail administration available for an interview for this story.

In a phone call with the Defenders last month, a jail sergeant described Miranda as having jumped off the ladder, although both interoffice memos describe the incident as a fall, and stated that officials decided to release Miranda early after he was injured.

Miranda said he was transferred to a Stone Oak hospital that could better deal with his trauma the same day as the fall and then eventually to a rehabilitation center.

He was released from the rehab center 19 days after the injury, but said the fall continues to have a drastic impact on his day-to-day living.

Gabriel Miranda using the assistance of a walker earlier this year. (KSAT)

“It revolves around pain medication, then trying to get dressed,” said Miranda, who still uses the assistance of a walker to get around and has difficulty sitting down.

He said he considers it a good day, progress wise, if he is able to put on his own socks without assistance.

Miranda said he is hopeful the fractures heal without him having to eventually undergo back surgery.

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About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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