Tragedy was narrowly avoided at Adair County Regional Jail Tuesday evening, March 8, when three inmates overdosed and a fourth had to be hospitalized for drug-related treatment.
While the matter is currently under investigation by Kentucky State Police Post 15, authorities are limited in information they can divulge on the incident. Adair County Judge Executive Gale Cowan and Adair Jailer Jamie Richard explained the details that are publicly available in interviews with The County Line Wednesday.
According to Cowan, the inmate who is believed to have brought the drugs into the facility voluntarily checked himself into jail earlier Tuesday.
“The way I understand it is there was an inmate who turned himself in [Tuesday],” Cowan explained. “They weren’t brought in by an organization, just came in off the street and turned himself in.”
Cowan and Richard both said that all proper procedures were followed and due diligence given to preventing any contraband from entering the facility, but that there was no way to avoid this particular occurrence. Richard elaborated further.
“I implemented a policy when I got here that everybody who comes in the jail under any drug issues is searched, and everybody that’s brought in is given a shower and then put in jail clothes,” Richard said. “That’s stopped a lot of [contraband and drug activity]. Here’s the deal: When it’s inside their body, not hidden in a crack or crevice, but in their person, you’re just not going to find it — there’s no possible way.”
Without divulging names or other matters sensitive to the active investigation, Richard summarized the afternoon’s events as delicately as the facts allow.
“Some inmates will come in, hiding stuff inside their bodies because they’re addicts and they want to bring in that one last fix when they’re in here for 30 days, and that’s what happened this time,” Richard said. “This guy walks in — and that happens quite a bit, it’s not uncommon — and when he gets to the cell, he digs [the drugs] out. They use it, and then here we are. We’ve got three that have overdosed.”
Three inmates who overdosed were transported by ambulance to TJ Health Columbia, where they were treated and released back into custody. The fourth inmate hospitalized was the inmate who authorities allege brought the drugs into the jail. He was also treated and released.
The judge and jailer each shared words of praise for jail employees, calling their efforts “life-saving.”
“They deserve to be commended because they worked their tails off,” said Cowan, who was at the jail for more than two-and-a-half hours Tuesday. “They did everything by the book, spot-on what they needed to be doing, and I whole-heartedly believe they saved at least one life, if not all three of them.”
Richard was equally laudatory of his staff.
“They did an excellent job, and I know that because if not, we would have one dead — 100 percent,” Richard said. “We prepare for this, we train for this, and I wish there was something, some kind of [recognition], and there’s nothing like that currently in place. When I was with state police, if you pulled an act like that, they’d give you a medal. If you save a life, that’s major.”
The County Line will report more details on Tuesday’s incident as they become publicly available, including names of those involved and any new or pending charges stemming from the overdoses and smuggled contraband.