Unpaid parking tickets proved fatal for a terminally ill Queens man who died after callous cops locked him up for four days for a minor traffic offense, a lawsuit claims.
Glenn Seldon, 50, was battling advanced colon cancer in 2007 but still hoped his chemotherapy regimen would make him well enough to go on a family vacation being planned for Hawaii.
Then, on May 11, 2007, he was arrested for driving with a license that had been suspended for unpaid parking tickets.
According to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, cops disregarded his weakened condition and ignored his need for daily medication to control an infection and blood clots.
When he finally staggered out of Queens Criminal Court four nights behind bars, his clothing was soiled, he was gaunt from dehydration, incontinent and weeping uncontrollably, his family said. "They broke his spirit," said his wife, Angela Seldon. "Why couldn't they have just given him a summons and let him come home to us?"
Family attorney Fred Brewington called the officers' actions appalling.
"This matter could have been handled in a more compassionate and humane way," Brewington said.
A spokeswoman for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority refused to comment on the actions of its police officers.
Seldon was heading into Manhattan to pick up his wife at work when he apparently missed an exit for the Queensboro Bridge and stopped near the Midtown Tunnel to ask cops for directions.
It's unclear what happened next, but at some point the cops determined Seldon's license was suspended for failing to pay six tickets in Nassau County traffic court.
Seldon, an insurance claims adjuster for Geico, was once a strapping 320-pounder with a deep voice. His love of singing earned him the nickname "Barry White" after the crooner he resembled.
But cancer had taken its toll. Seldon shed more than 100 pounds, his skin was discolored and covered with scales, and he was unsteady on his feet.
His wife was able to track him to the 108th Precinct stationhouse and from there, to Elmhurst Hospital Center where, according to the suit, she found him handcuffed to a chair and sitting in his own waste.
He was not freed, and he was later taken to Central Booking and Criminal Court.
Authorities would not say why he was held so long. Seldon's daughter Criscelle Seldon, 24, was shocked at the sight of her father when she found him May 15 sitting nearly catatonic on a courthouse bench, his soiled pants hanging around his ankles. "He looked like he had been in a concentration camp," she recalled.
Concerned about his condition, relatives took him to North Shore University Hospital, where doctors said his infection had worsened and his blood platelet level was dangerously low.
"The doctors asked us, 'What happened to him?'" Criscelle Seldon recalled.
Two days later, Seldon was suffering seizures and ministrokes and was placed on a respirator. He died May 20, nine days after taking a wrong turn.
The death certificate says he died of cardiac arrest, but Angela Seldon said her husband's heart was broken by the cruelty the gentle giant endured during his last week on Earth.
"I believe the stress and the trauma accelerated his death," she said.
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