VISTA, CALIFORNIA (August 1, 2023) – A 53-year-old man identified as Eddie Faulkner has tragically died after being found unconscious in his jail cell at the Vista Detention Facility.
San Diego County officials are saying that the incident took place around 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Correctional officers noticed that Eddie Faulkner was unresponsive in his single occupancy cell.
Medical staff opened the cell and began life-saving measures. Despite those efforts, he was later pronounced dead.
Postmortem tests revealed that Eddie Faulkner died due to an accident caused by acute fentanyl, gabapentin and trazodone intoxication. The circumstances leading up to the “accident” remain unknown at this time.
A full investigation remains ongoing.
Liability For Inmate Deaths At The Vista Detention Facility
Drug overdoses remain one of the leading causes of inmate death in the United States. The number of inmate overdoses each year is likely under-reported. According to Springer Nature, “a sheriff reported that 129 doses of naloxone had been administered to 70 individuals in 2019 (Saavedra, 2020), and yet, our media search revealed only a single reported overdose event in Orange County that year.” There are a number of reasons that fentanyl can be particularly dangerous.
- Fentanyl can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
- Fentanyl can paralyze a person’s ability to breathe.
- Fentanyl causes drowsiness and sedation which can be confused for sleeping.
- Fentanyl is often mixed with other illicit drugs.
All inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. This includes getting care for drug overdoses. Overdoses in-custody are largely preventable. Inmates should typically receive naloxone , which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any in-custody death.
- An independent autopsy may need to be performed.
- Body camera footage from all officers involved should be reviewed.
- The inmate’s medical records should be examined.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
Jails are supposed to be proactive about keeping inmates safe and healthy. But far too often correctional officers wait until an inmate goes into medical distress before they will do anything. The family of any person that died in jail does have legal rights. They have a right to know what happened. They are also able to pursue damages through a constitutional claim. Sadly, though, jails will often fight hard to deny liability for any inmate that dies in their care.
Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Vista Detention Facility
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Eddie Faulkner. Any person that may have more information about what happened should speak with investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the Vista Detention Facility? You may have legal recourse. Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We focus on instances of police abuse and jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.