By Terri Jo Neff
Special to Arizona Range News
WILLCOX — Autopsy results are pending for a Texas man who died in a Tucson hospital days after he lost consciousness March 4 at the Cochise County Jail in Willcox following an incident in which he tried to harm himself and was Tasered after escaping from a holding cell.
Luke Ian Hyde, of San Antonio, died March 10 and underwent an autopsy at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner the next day.
“Both cause and manner of death are currently pending,” Dr. Gregory Hess, the chief medical examiner, said Thursday, adding that a final report isn’t expected for several weeks.
Hyde, 26, was booked into the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office jail annex in Willcox shortly before 2 a.m. March 4 by the Willcox Police Department on suspicion of DUI and an outstanding warrant. Due to his belligerent behavior, detention staff were unable to complete the booking process, such as taking a mug shot and fingerprints, and decided to wait until Hyde settled down.
Around 7:30 a.m., detention officers reported Hyde became combative and threatened to harm himself. He then rammed his head, face first, into the door of his cell, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas. Paramedics were called to the jail to evaluate Hyde for injuries, but he fought against being examined. He was able to escape from his holding cell and run into another part of the building.
A sheriff’s deputy who responded to the jail suffered a dislocated shoulder during the struggle to capture Hyde. A detention officer then discharged a Taser, which hit Hyde but didn’t have the expected incapacitating effect, Capas said.
Eventually, Hyde was caught and placed in a corrections restraint chair with his hands cuffed in the back to prevent him from further self-harming acts and injuring additional staff. However, he continued to act out.
“Even in the restraint chair, Hyde continued to work against the staff by arching his back, using his feet and moving his head,” Capas said.
A short time later, a detention sergeant noticed the inmate had become motionless and didn’t appear to be breathing. Capas told the Range News that Hyde had been under supervision the whole time.
“An automated external defibrillator (AED) was used, and our staff conducted CPR until Healthcare Innovations (the ambulance service) returned to the jail,” she said. “He was then transported to Northern Cochise Community Hospital.”
Emergency room doctors at NCCH determined Hyde’s medical condition required trauma-level care available only in Tucson, which resulted in his transfer to Tucson Medical Center. Hours later, Hyde was officially released from custody, ending the county’s involvement and responsibility for his medical care.