XENIA — An in-custody inmate died in Greene County Jail Feb. 28, possibly after ingesting drugs, according to Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer.
Fischer announced the incident during a press conference March 1, identifying the inmate as Jeremy Withers, 32, of Xenia.
Withers was arrested 11:22 a.m. Feb. 28 after giving false information to a deputy during a traffic stop. He was a passenger in the car that was pulled over, authorities said.
Fischer said that the stop also involved recovering what they suspected to be drugs in the car.
According to Fischer, the inmate arrived at the jail 12:29 p.m., was booked in and fingerprinted, made a couple phone calls and seemed fine until after dinner. He reportedly spoke to a nurse around 5:30 p.m. and after some health complaints, was escorted to the first floor to be monitored more closely.
“At that point things went bad,” Fischer said.
Treatment for Withers reportedly included CPR, AED without shocks, and three doses of Narcan administered by the fire division, which had been called to the scene. The 32-year-old was pronounced dead 6:46 p.m.
“We believe that Mr. Withers actually ingested drugs and we’re assuming — we believe — that the bag opened up after he ate dinner and was the cause of death, ” Fischer said.
While excess of drugs in the system is the presumable cause, officials are awaiting autopsy results from the coroner’s office for the official cause of death.
An administrative review is underway for everybody involved in the incident. Fischer said that it appears all procedures were followed properly and that his team has filed appropriate reports with the State of Ohio.
The county jail has not had a fatality within the jail in 26 years.
But recent reports have included incidents of inmates trying to sneak drugs into jail, according to Fischer.
The sheriff recalled an incident a few weeks ago where a female inmate ingested a plastic bag of drugs, recovered them successfully while she was in jail, and then shared them with other inmates on the floor.
“We do know that heorin — all drugs — have a certain draw to people that they just have to have it. So if you know you’re going to jail … that seems to be the increasing thing to do now … ingest the drugs so you can bring them up later,” he said.
One solution for this, Fischer said when prompted, could be a body scanner for the jail.
Fischer said that he has been in conversation with the county commissioners about obtaining a body scanner and that within the last few weeks they have confirmed that the jail will be getting one. The model Fischer referred to is $120,000. A body scanner is not a new idea for the jail, as it has been rejected out of the budget the last two years.
In this case, Withers was searched at least twice, once at the traffic stop and once upon entering the jail. In the future, a body scanner could depict abnormalities within the body and inside body cavities.
“It’s sad … sad to sit here in front of you guys and report something like this. We need to figure out what the problem is — the heroin — and get that addressed,” Fischer said.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.