A Summit County Jail inmate, who was being held on drug charges, died Wednesday after he was found unconscious on his cot.
James Watts III, 30, was pronounced dead about 5 p.m. at the emergency room of Akron General Medical Center.
An autopsy was conducted Thursday by the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office. Authorities are awaiting toxicology and additional tests before ruling on a cause of death.
Akron police arrested Watts about 12:25 p.m. Monday. Officers say he was riding inside an SUV at East Market and North Adams streets and had a syringe in his lap. He was charged with possession of a drug instrument. Watts admitted using the syringe to “shoot up,” according to the report.
He was booked into the jail later that day. About 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, he was found unconscious while lying on a jail cot, authorities said, and efforts to restore his breathing failed.
Watts has an extensive criminal and traffic court record, including a May 2010 felony conviction for heroin possession, according to county court records.
Sheriff’s officials said Watts admitted to using heroin when he first entered the jail. As a result, the jail medical staff was alerted and a specific protocol was followed, including checking Watts’ vital signs every eight hours.
Tuesday night, according to sheriff’s spokesman Bill Holland, Watts was given Phenergan to alleviate vomiting. He was given more early Wednesday morning. Later that day, Watts was “walking, communicating and drinking liquids,” Holland said.
An inmate found him unresponsive about 4:15 p.m. and the jail’s medical staff was notified.