Jerry Davich of the Chicago Tribune reports an extraordinary and harrowing story of a single mother who was pulled over for a traffic stop only to learn a warrant was out for her arrest -- stemming from an unpaid medical bill

‘Mother Goes from Traffic Stop to Bench Warrant to Jail Over Unpaid Medical Bill’

Jerry Davich of the Chicago Tribune reports an extraordinary and harrowing story of a single mother who was pulled over for a traffic stop only to learn a warrant was out for her arrest — stemming from an unpaid medical bill:

“Melissa Welch-Latronica had no idea why she got pulled over by a Valparaiso police officer earlier this month.”

“He informed her that she failed to affix her 2019 sticker to her license plate. She apologized and handed him her driver’s license. Then she waited, and waited.”

“She noticed a second police car pull up behind the first vehicle. This is when she began feeling anxiety while looking at the squad car’s flashers in her mirror.”

The piece continues: “The officer returned to her minivan and asked her step out of it. Why? There was a warrant for her arrest, she was told. It’s from a civil case in 2014 when she failed to appear in court for an unpaid ambulance bill.”

Said Welch-Latronica: ““I was in a cell fit for a murderer. I slept on disgusting mat on a concrete floor in a tiny room, next to a musty water drain that was more like a sewer. I was treated like a dog from staff members, served food through a door hole, and showered in an open area with actual felons.”

Davich has subsequently tweeted: “This column about a single mother is attracting reader feedback from across the country, including one reader who contacted me offering to help this pay woman’s initial ambulance bill that put her in jail five years after it was owed.”

For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.