Sgt. James Vachon, spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, said the inmate, Nickolas Welch, was just 47 years old.
“He was booked in the jail and given a medical screening,” Vachon said. “He was in what was considered our Classification area, where you go before being assigned a housing unit. It was there that deputies found him having a seizure, and he was rushed to the hospital. He died there.”
Welch was arrested on Tuesday in Mount Dora, and charged with driving a car with a suspended license. He was arrested at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and the resident of Sorrento was booked in the jail at 9:45 that morning. But he wasn’t there for very long.
Vachon said this inmate’s death appears to have been from natural causes. Welch was found by detention deputies having a seizure in his cell around midnight, and the jail’s nursing staff quickly responded, performing CPR and then using an AED device in an effort to to revive Welch. The inmate was then transported to a local hospital, where he was declared deceased.
Vachon said sheriff’s investigators are looking into what happened to Welch, although he added that detectives don’t think there is anything suspicious about his death. Welch was medically screened, the sergeant said, when he first got booked into the jail and appeared to have been in good health.
An autopsy was performed this morning at the Lake County Medical Examiner’s Office, and no signs of trauma were found. A final cause of death will be determined in the next few days following the results of a pending toxicology report.
Vachon said a death like this doesn’t happen very often — and, in fact, the last time an inmate died at the jail was in 2007, he said.
“An inmate death in custody is fairly rare,” Vachon said. “If you look at it one way, our jail population is roughly around 1,000 inmates. At some point, one of the inmates will die in custody.”
The Lake County Detention Center is a 960 bed facility, employing 300 workers, and is under the leadership of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the department’s web site, “In 2009, 11,746 inmates were booked into the facility with an average daily population of 1,037 inmates.”
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