GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Meth and heat exposure contributed to the death of a Grand Forks man in the county jail after an hours-long standoff, officials said.
Samuel James Nelson, 36, died July 9 from “excited delirium associated with methamphetamine toxicity and prolonged exposure to a hot environment,” Jail Administrator Bret Burkholder said, based on information he received from the Grand Forks County coroner.
Nelson was arrested July 9 after running from officers and a five-hour standoff at an apartment complex in the 1100 block of 14th Avenue South. He barricaded himself in an attic crawl space during the standoff.
He surrendered peacefully at 5:30 p.m. before being booked at 6 p.m. into the Grand Forks County Correctional Center.
Temperatures reached into the mid-80s that day, and the Grand Forks Police Department had him checked by paramedics because of the heat, the agency said.
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Altru staff cleared Nelson so he could be taken to jail. He was found unresponsive at about 7 p.m. and taken to Altru Hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival, Burkholder said.
He said his officers did everything they could to save Nelson’s life.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the death and considers the case still active, BCI spokeswoman Liz Brocker said. Burkholder said he has been told verbally the state agency has completed its investigation.
Nothing points to foul play or misconduct by his officers, he said.