San Diego

Oceanside Woman Suing City for False Arrest Dies, Family Claiming Wrongful Death

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An Oceanside woman who filed a lawsuit against the City of Oceanside claiming she was falsely arrested has died and now her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Gwen Daigle said it was a stroke that caused her to collapse in October of 2018, but Oceanside Police called her a drunk and took her to jail. 

A year later, Gwen Daigle died of a massive stroke.  Her attorney, Jerry Steering, says her death can be blamed on the lack of care she got from Oceanside Police, paramedics, and deputies at the Vista Detention Center.

NBC 7 spoke to Daigle last May after she filed a federal lawsuit that claimed her constitutional rights were violated when she was falsely arrested and denied the medical help she needed the night of her arrest.

A Carlsbad woman said she was arrested while suffering from a stroke but claims officers thought she was drunk. NBC 7's Allison Ash has more.

She was sitting in her car along Highway 101 in Oceanside, waiting for a friend, when Daigle said her head started spinning and she felt sick. She got out of her car and collapsed. A good Samaritan called Oceanside Police, but that’s when Daigle said things went from bad to worse.

A female officer pulled on her arm, trying to lift Daigle off the pavement. 

“I kept asking her what she was doing,” Daigle recalled. “She said she was gonna arrest me for being intoxicated.”

“I kept telling her I don’t drink, I need medical attention,” recalled Daigle, who was arrested and put in a cell at the Vista Detention Center.

Daigle claimed she was unconscious, until the next afternoon when she woke up face down on a concrete jail floor, her body covered in bruises.

After her release, a friend called 911 and Daigle was taken to a hospital where she spent three days in the intensive care unit. She later learned she had suffered a stroke and bleeding on the brain.

Daigle filed her lawsuit, but died before a judge could ever hear it. 

Her attorney says Daigle’s three children are now named as plaintiffs in the case, which now claims wrongful death and asks for $50 million in damages from both the city of Oceanside and San Diego County.

A spokesman for the county said they don’t comment on pending legal cases, but Oceanside’s Assistant City Attorney Deborah Nash, offered a brief written statement:

“The City would like to extend its sympathy to the Daigle family during this difficult time. After thorough review of the facts, the City believes its officers and paramedics acted appropriately and were not the cause of the medical condition that led to Ms. Daigle’s death. We feel confident in the outcome of the judicial process, which will allow the evidence from all parties to be disclosed. “

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