POCATELLO — A local woman is facing up to a decade in prison for allegedly kicking and spitting on Bannock County Sheriff’s Office jail staff last week after they asked her about any potential contact with COVID-19 confirmed patients.
Jennifer Lynne Escobar, 41, most recently of Georgia, who also goes by Radcliffe, has been charged with two felonies — battery upon a police officer and propelling bodily fluid or waste at certain persons — for the May 17 incident at the Bannock County Jail, according to court records.
The incident began to unfold around 11:40 p.m. May 17 when Pocatello police officers arrived at the jail. Police were transporting Escobar to the jail on an alcohol protective custody hold and had informed the jail staff to have additional deputies on standby as Escobar had been combative with the officers who detained her, according to police reports.
Inside the Pocatello police car parked inside the sally port of the jail, a detention deputy first checked Escobar’s temperature with a thermometer before attempting to ask questions related to COVID-19, which the jail implemented in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, police said.
When a detention deputy asked Escobar if she had knowingly come into contact with any patient confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past two weeks, Escobar said, “Maybe,” police said. When the jailer asked Escobar to please respond with a yes or no, Escobar instead, “reared her head back and spit onto my face,” the jailer said in the police report.
Escobar proceeded to begin screaming loudly into the jailer’s face and demanding she not be touched because she was being detained illegally, police said.
No information was contained within the Bannock County Sheriff's Office incident report as to why Escobar was being detained or about the events that prefaced her allegedly spitting on jail staff.
Another jail deputy then secured a hood on Escobar’s head to prevent her from spitting on any other detention staff, police said.
After jail detention staff completed its intake process and were transporting Escobar to her cell, Escobar allegedly turned around and kicked the same deputy she had previously spit on and then wrapped both of her legs around the leg of the deputy, police said.
Jail detention staff uncurled Escobar’s legs and secured her inside a holding cell inside the jail, police said.
Throughout Escobar’s intake process she repeatedly shouted profanities at the jail and medical staff and attempted to spit on them several times despite the preventative hood, police said.
Escobar appeared in front of 6th District Judge David Hooste for an arraignment hearing on May 18, during which he set her bond at $20,000.
Escobar is due back in court on Tuesday for a hearing in which prosecutors will try to prove there is enough evidence against her to send the case to trial.
In addition to facing up to 10 years in prison, Escobar faces up to $51,000 in fines if convicted of the charges against her.