BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – A man found comatose in his Belmont County Jail cell recently is now facing two felony charges, and could have died.
Belmont County authorities say David Hancher-Palmer was comatose in his cell on August 14 of apparent drug exposure. Officials say Hancher-Palmer had a plastic bag containing a gray powder inside with feces outside within reach.
Earlier during hourly cell checks, three other inmates were discovered with slurred speech and other signs of drug use. Two submitted urine samples that showed the presence of fentanyl in their system.
Sgt. Jordan Blumling said Hancher-Palmer was taken to East Ohio Regional Hospital and treated for a drug overdose.
Sgt. Blumling noted that Hancher-Palmer is now charged with two felonies–conveyance and drug possession.
He also said Hancher-Palmer had undergone the standard body scan when he was booked into the jail, but the scan results are not always exact.
Conveying drugs into a correctional institution is a dangerous situation everywhere. Exposure is dangerous to staff and to inmates. Decontamination procedures include clearing the cells, cleaning and even shutting down the air intake system in some cases.Sgt. Jordan Blumling, Belmont County Sheriff’s Office
The inmate has to be taken to the hospital. Then we have to place a guard on that inmate. Often a person has to be pulled from road patrol. It creates a burden on our resources.Chief Deputy James Zusack, Belmont County Sheriff’s Office.
Belmont County Chief Deputy James Zusack said people will be charged whenever this happens, because it is a serious situation.