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Bennington police: Officer provided emergency care to man who died in custody

Bennington police said a man who died in their custody Thursday was given emergency medical care by an officer after he was seen sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall in a holding cell.

Darrel Jones, 33, of Albany, New York and Pennsylvania — who was identified by authorities Friday evening — was arrested along with two other people at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday during a drug-related search at the Apple Valley Inn in Bennington, police have said.

All three arrestees were placed in separate holding areas at the Bennington Police Department. An hour later, an officer saw Jones sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall, checked him, and immediately called the Bennington Rescue Squad emergency medical service, the Bennington Police Department said in a press release Friday morning.

The officer provided emergency medical care until the rescue squad arrived, Bennington police said. But efforts to revive Jones failed, and he was pronounced dead at the police department at 5:19 p.m., after which Bennington police said they asked Vermont State Police to conduct an investigation in accordance with established procedures.

State police, who announced the death on Thursday night, have said their preliminary investigation showed no indication that Bennington police used physical force on Jones.

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette and the assistant chief, Lt. Camillo Grande, didn’t immediately respond to an interview request on Friday.

Jonah Spivak, communications coordinator for the town of Bennington, said the police department isn’t making additional statements beyond the press release because of the ongoing police investigation.

“I would hope that people will await the results of the investigation before jumping to conclusions,” Spivak told VTDigger.

State police said Friday evening that an autopsy had been performed by the Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner but that “the cause and manner of Jones’ death remain pending toxicology testing, which can take several weeks to several months.”

The two other people arrested on Thursday were identified by Bennington police as Jody Dwyer, 47, and Zachary Rose, 35, both of Bennington. Police charged them with possession of a controlled substance and cited them to appear Monday in Bennington Superior criminal court.

Rose was held on an outstanding arrest warrant on drug-related charges in an earlier case, Bennington police said.

Court documents related to the drug search at the Bennington motel on Thursday were not available for public release as of Friday morning, according to the court clerk’s office.

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