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Prisoner dies hours after he was booked in jail

--- Cause undetermined

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published May 24, 2007, 1:15 p.m.)

An inmate who had arrived at the Walworth County Jail Tuesday night died about 10 hours after being booked for a second-offense drunk driving charge.

Jerome M. Beck, 42, of Pell Lake, was brought in at 11:50 a.m. and charged with drunk driving, operating after revocation and bail jumping. He also had a warrant for an operating after revocation charge.

Jail officers found Beck unresponsive in his cell at 9:37 p.m. inside the intake area. Officers used a semi-automatic external defibrillator and began CPR before an ambulance took him across the street to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center. He was pronounced dead there at 10:14 p.m. Tuesday, according to the sheriff's department.

An autopsy performed Wednesday showed no apparent causes of death. An official cause of death will not be pronounced until confirmed by laboratory tests, Coroner John Griebel said.

Undersheriff Kurt Picknell said Beck was in a regular intake cell and was not under any special kind of watch. Jail staff last checked on him at 8:45 p.m. as part of regular hourly prisoner checks.

No one saw Beck collapse or have any sort of medical problems through the Plexiglas cell window, Picknell said.

Doctors at Lakeland medically cleared Beck Tuesday morning before he was booked, which is also standard practice for intoxicated driving arrests, Picknell said. He was likely under the influence of alcohol, he added.

Beck's first drunk driving charge was last January, according to online court records.




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