A second inmate has died in a matter of days while in the custody of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
In a news release, Sheriff Ed Graybeal said Charles Frederick Young III, 35, 631 Saylor Hill Road, Limestone, died Thursday morning after being taken to Johnson City Medical Center from the Washington County Detention Center by ambulance.
According to Maj. Russell Jamerson, Young was brought in by a Washington County sheriff’s deputy on June 23 on a warrant for a violation of probation.
The violation stemmed from a conviction of possession of schedule I drugs for resale and possession of schedule VI drugs.
The investigation into Young’s death was turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Graybeal said no foul play was suspected.
On Monday, Stewart W. Peppers, 22, 606 Swadley Road, No. 46, was found unconscious around 5:30 or 6 p.m. He later died while being transported to Johnson City Medical Center by ambulance.
The TBI also was called in to investigate Peppers’ death. His body was sent for autopsy.
Peppers was charged April 25 with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, felony vandalism, simple possession of a schedule VI drug for resale and simple possession of a schedule III drug.
The charges stemmed from an incident near the Milligan Highway and Cedar Grove Road.
Jamerson said the two inmate deaths are unrelated.
He said a certain protocol is observed and followed at the detention center when dealing with an inmate’s medical emergency.
“The officer who discovers an inmate that has a medical issue calls for other officers to come and assist,” Jamerson said. “We have nurses on duty 24 hours a day. (They) will contact our medical department and the nurses respond depending on the situation and we have medical equipment on site here, including AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and other medical equipment. Based on the situation, we contact 911 and EMS responds and then if the person requires transport to the hospital then they are transported by EMS.”
He said the inmate deaths were tragic situations and bringing in an outside agency like the TBI is WCSO policy.
“We have an outside agency come in and investigate it because we don’t want there to be any appearance of any bias or anything like that,” Jamerson said. “We have policies in place and in this instance our policies were followed and we take our commitment to the care and custody of inmates ... very seriously.”
He said since TBI is investigating the deaths of both Peppers and Young, the WCSO cannot disclose any information or specifics about the two incidents at this time.
On Jan. 11, 2012, Washington County Detention Center inmate Charles Williams, 55, died at Johnson City Medical Center from a head injury that he reportedly suffered from falling and hitting his head in the drunk tank. District Attorney General Tony Clark said on June 12 that TBI and a grand jury panel had determined there was no wrongdoing on the part of the Washington County detention officers or the Johnson City police officer who arrested Williams.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Cedar Grove Road as Cedar Point Road.