Death of Thomas Smoot while in Sheriff's custody ruled accidental

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An examination of the body of a man who died while in Sheriff's custody ruled the death an accident.

The incident started on the 600-block of Francis Street in Oildale at about 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2013.

Deputies said there were reports of 27-year-old Thomas Smoot yelling for help.

The deputy handcuffed Smoot. Deputies determined he was under the influence of alcohol and narcotics and placed him under arrest, official said.

While a deputy was transporting Smoot to the Downtown Jail he noticed Smoot appeared to be in medical distress.  The deputy stopped his vehicle in the 800 block of North Chester Avenue and began performing basic life support procedures.

Kern County Fire and Hall Ambulance arrived on scene a short time later. Smoot was transported to Memorial Hospital by ambulance where he pronounced dead at about 7:34 a.m.

The Sheriff's Office Coroner said Monday that Smoot's death was caused by methamphetamine intoxication, with hardening of the arteries.

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