PORT HUENEME : Jailed Man’s Death Linked to Alcohol

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An unidentified man who died after he stopped breathing while in a Port Hueneme Police Department jail cell Friday probably died from alcohol-induced hypothermia, said a senior deputy coroner.

The man, who appeared to be in his 50s, was arrested at 10:30 a.m. Friday after he was discovered passed out in a restroom at Bubbling Springs Park, said Port Hueneme Police Sgt. John Ema.

Too intoxicated to be booked, the man was placed in a padded detoxification cell at the department’s headquarters that is under continuous audio and video surveillance, Ema said. Officers checked on the man’s condition periodically during the next several hours, he said.


Ema checked the cell again at 1:10 p.m., and found the man had stopped breathing and called for paramedics and an ambulance. At 2:01 p.m., the man was declared dead on arrival at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard.

Craig Stevens, a senior deputy coroner, said the man’s clothing was soaking wet when he was found, and speculated he may have been sitting on a bench at Bubbling Springs Park when the park’s automatic sprinklers went on. Stevens said the amount of alcohol in the man’s body could have lowered his temperature to a fatal level.

“There was no visible evidence of any trauma, injury or foul play,” Stevens said after an initial examination. An autopsy will be performed today, he said.