A Cowlitz County Jail officer was blasted in the face with her own pepper spray after an inmate snatched it from her belt during a struggle Saturday, authorities said.

A Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputy wrote in a report that he was at the jail when he heard jail officer Tina M. Huft “excitedly” call for help over a radio. The deputy and jail staff rushed into a nearby room, where they found Huft, red in the face with her eyes swollen shut, and 19-year-old inmate Jeran R. Applefield irate and screaming, according to the report.

Authorities said Huft had been trying to handcuff Applefield and move her to a different cell when Applefield “slipped the handcuffs” and attacked. Huft “performed a defensive tactic that placed (Applefield) to her side,” according to the report. Applefield then snatched the pepper spray off Huft’s belt and sprayed the officer in the face with it.

Huft, 43, was spitting and coughing but was otherwise uninjured.

Applefield, of Longview, admitted to spraying the officer and said she was “trying to get away.”

A Superior Court Judge on Monday found probable cause to charge Applefield with custodial assault and second-degree attempted escape.


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