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Inmate who died at Racine Co. Jail accidentally overdosed, sheriff says

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Posted at 8:32 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 21:32:19-05

RACINE — The Racine County Sheriff's Office has ruled that an inmate who died at its jail over the summer died from a drug overdose.

The sheriff's office received criticism then when it announced two people in custody died at the Racine County jailhouse. Rumors of a third death circulated online but the sheriff's office slammed that as misinformation. When this all happened, in June, the office said it did not have any other information.

But the investigation into one of those deaths, of Ronquale Ditello-Scott Jr., has now concluded.

The sheriff's office said in a statement Friday that his death was ruled as an Acute Fentanyl Toxicity. The county's medical examiner's office determined the manner of death to be accidental.

The Racine County Sheriff's Office previously said around 2:30 a.m. on May 29, deputies pulled over a man for swerving in and out of lanes. The man, Ditello-Scott Jr., told deputies he was swerving because of car troubles. The office says he then admitted to smoking marijuana two hours before.

In his vehicle, deputies say they found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and "open intoxicants." The office says he failed a field sobriety test and then took him into custody for a variety of charges, including operating a vehicle while impaired.

Ditello-Scott Jr. was brought to the hospital where he consented to a blood draw. He was then brought to the jail.

The office says Ditello-Scott Jr. was given basic necessities there and was allowed to go to sleep in a holding cell. Jail nursing staff checked on him around 7:00 a.m., reporting that he "was snoring and appeared to have a normal flesh tone."

Within one hour, the office says nursing staff checked on Ditello-Scott Jr. a second time, who was then in office's words “yellow in color and not breathing.” Medical staff provided emergency care, but he could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at the jail.

Sheriff Christopher Schmaling also announced Friday he ordered a Len Bias investigation into Ditello-Scott Jr.'s death. Named after the basketball player Len Bias, who died from a drug overdose in 1986, the investigation allows for criminal prosecutions to be made against all people involved in the supply chain that led to the victim having the drug that caused their death. In this way the investigation into Ditello-Scott Jr.'s death remains active, according to the sheriff's office.

Read the office's full statement below:

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