RACINE – Authorities are investigating two deaths involving Racine County Jail inmates that have occurred since Saturday.
The Racine County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the county jail, reported the incidents. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office is conducting independent investigations of both deaths.
The first death, which occurred Saturday, involved a suspect charged with Operating a Vehicle While Impaired. According to a news release, deputies apprehended a driver reported to be swerving in-and-out the lane of travel on Highway 164 near Highway 36 about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
The driver, later identified as Ronquale Ditello-Scott, 22, did not immediately yield to the emergency lights of a Racine County Sheriff’s squad and rolled forward at a slow rate of speed for approximately two-tenths of a mile before coming to a complete stop. Ditello-Scott reportedly told deputies that the reason for the lane deviations was a mechanical problem with his vehicle.
While being interviewed, Ditello-Scott admitted to smoking marijuana about two hours before being stopped. A search of the vehicle yielded multiple forms of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and open intoxicants. Ditello-Scott also reportedly failed a standard field sobriety test.
Ditello-Scott was taken into custody on a variety of charges, including Operating a Vehicle While Impaired-2nd offense, about 3 a.m. He was transported to a local hospital where he consented to a legal blood draw. He was then booked into the Racine County Jail at about 5:30 a.m. and allowed to go to sleep in a holding cell.
Jail nursing staff checked on Ditello-Scott at about 7 a.m. He was reported to be snoring and appeared to have a normal flesh tone. Within an hour, nursing staff conducted another check on Ditello-Scott and found that he was “yellow in color and not breathing.” Medical professionals provided emergency care but were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead at the jail.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a review of the death, including an autopsy.
The second death occurred Tuesday evening. It involved a man, whom was not identified. He had been taken into custody about 3 a.m. on 14 counts of Recklessly Endangering Safety and one count of Arson to a Building.
Based on a recent suicide attempt, the man was placed on suicide close watch in a high-visibility cell, the Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release. During his time in custody, the man engaged in multiple acts of self-harm, including violently smashing his head into a concrete wall. At one point during the weekend, deputies transported the man to a local hospital for medical attention.
On Tuesday evening, the man “was again smashing his head into a concrete wall so violently that it was audible to jail staff,” the Sheriff’s Office reported. When jail staff took steps to medically evaluate the man and prevent him from further harming himself, he “experienced a medical event” which caused him to be unresponsive. Medical staff were standing by and additional emergency personnel were summoned to the jail. The man did not regain consciousness and was pronounced dead.
Per department protocol, all of the jail staff involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department was immediately contacted to conduct an investigation.
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