Police Believe Custody Death was Overdose

Police Believe Custody Death was Overdose

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man who was handcuffed after fighting police attempts to subdue him died of an apparent overdose, authorities said.

Victor Espinoza, 20, died around 12 a.m. Saturday while waiting for paramedics at his residence, Salt Lake police Detective Dwayne Baird said.

Police had responded to a call from neighbors that Espinoza was "freaking out," Baird said. He apparently had jumped two and a half stories out of a window, landed on a fence and then began jumping on cars, Baird said.

Espinoza became combative with officers, who handcuffed him and put on leg irons when he continued to kick.

Officers rolled Espinoza on his side to keep him from choking when he began to vomit. Espinoza died before paramedics arrived.

"He just happened to die while he had handcuffs and leg irons on," Baird said.

Police had arrested Espinoza the night before after responding to a call regarding a domestic disturbance, Baird said. Espinoza's wife told police he had been abusing unknown substances for several days, Baird said.

Espinoza's body was taken to the state Medical Examiner's Office for an examination and investigation. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office also will investigate.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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