Derek Bennett

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — An investigation is underway after a regional jail inmate died in his cell at the Western Regional Jail in Cabell County earlier this week..

Derek Kevin Bennett, 33, of Detroit, Michigan was brought to the jail around 6 p.m. Tuesday.  He’d been arrested by Huntington Police and charged with burglary and fleeing.  He was left in a holding cell in the booking area to await his video arraignment before a magistrate on Wednesday morning.   When jail guards went to prepare him for the video hearing he was unresponsive in his cell.

“We don’t know the cause yet,” said Lawrence Messina, Spokesman for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. “Some have speculated it was an overdose, but there’s no reason to believe that was the case.”

The Regional Jail system has a detox protocol for suspects brought to the jail under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The specialized medical care is administered for an inmate’s first ten days in the lockup.   But according to Messina, Bennett was not under that protocol and exhibited no obvious signs of being high when he was arrested.

“He was not under that because there was no indication of substance abuse by him,” Messina told MetroNews. “We don’t know what happened.”

The State Police are investigating the death along with an internal investigation by the Regional Jail Authority.

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