Sebastian County Inmate Died of ‘Natural’ Causes, Prosecutor Says

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — A Sebastian County jail inmate’s death was ruled “natural” and will not result in criminal charges.

Dr. James R. Pollock, 48, died at Sparks Regional Medical Center on February 1 after being transported there from the Sebastian County Detention Center for a second time. Arkansas State Police investigated Pollock’s death.

Twelth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue said he reviewed the entire Arkansas State Police investigation file, including interviews with the Detention Center staff and Fort Smith police, fire and EMS personnel who assisted, as well as Pollock’s autopsy report, according to a letter Shue sent Monday to Cpl. Corey D. Mendenhall of State Police on Monday.

“It is the opinion of this office that no criminal charges can be filed against any person with regard to this death,” Shue said in the letter.

The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory performed an autopsy and ruled Pollock’s cause of death as “Hypertensive Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease” with a contributory cause of “Obesity: Bipolar Disorder.” The crime lab ruled the manner of death as “natural.”

Pollock was in the jail on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and Veterans Treatment Court sanctions.

“He had been an inmate in the Detention Center from January 23, 2018, until he was transported to Sparks Regional Medical Center to be stabilized due to an issue with regard to his medication,” Shue said in the letter.

Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office deputies picked Pollock up from the hospital on February 1 and transported him back to the jail, which is just over a mile away from the hospital, Shue said.

“The Sebastian County transport van entered the sally-port, and as deputies were removing Dr. Pollock from the van, he collapsed to his knees and very quickly became unresponsive,” Shue said.

Fort Smith police officers assisted deputies and administered CPR as EMS was called. Pollock was taken back to Sparks, where he was pronounced dead, Shue said.

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