Man who told police he’d smoked meth found unresponsive in jail, dies

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Editor’s Note: This story has been modified from its original version to correct the time and circumstances of MedStar’s response.

A 35-year-old man who told officers that he’d been smoking methamphetamine died at a Fort Worth hospital early Friday after being found unresponsive in his jail cell.

Tony Allen Durham was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m. in the emergency room at John Peter Smith Hospital, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. A ruling on his cause and manner of death were pending Friday.

He had told officers during his first of two arrests on Thursday that he had been smoking meth.

According to police, Durham’s first arrest came about 2:30 p.m. Thursday after officers responded to a call about a man looking into vehicles in the 800 block of Hodgson Street.

When responding officers made contact with Durham, he was sweating profusely.

“His shirt and jeans were both soaking wet from the sweat although the temperature was only 77 degrees and cloudy,” the police report states.

The report states that Durham had dilated pupils and was incoherent and admitted to officers he had been smoking meth.

“He did not know where he was at or how he got there,” the report states.

Believing he was a “danger to himself and others,” Durham was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication.

Officer Sharron Neal, a police spokeswoman, said Friday that it is up to an officer’s discretion whether such a suspect should be transported to the hospital or jail.

Neal said Durham was taken to the Fort Worth jail facility, then released “after a customary detention period” at about 9:30 p.m. At the time of his release, Durham was not showing signs of intoxication, Neal said.

“Shortly after this individual was released from custody, he was observed attempting to enter vehicles parked along 300 N. Taylor Street,” Neal said in an email.

A Fort Worth officer was alerted, and Durham was arrested again on suspicion of public intoxication at 10:10 p.m., according to the police report.

“From that time when he left and was brought back in, we don’t know what he got into,” Neal said.

Neal said when Durham returned to the Fort Worth jail, “there was just something different, unusual, out of the norm [about him] and MedStar was notified to come and evaluate him.”

Neal said MedStar evaluated Durham and left after finding “everything was OK.”

She said Durham was processed in the jail and placed in a holding cell, where he was later “found motionless and unresponsive by jail personnel.”

He was taken by ambulance to an area hospital where he later died.

The department’s major case unit is investigating the death.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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