Santa Rosa man dies from meth levels

December 15, 2008 10:21:10 PM PST
A Santa Rosa man who died in the custody of Rohnert Park police had a toxic level of methamphetamine in his blood, the Sonoma County coroner's office said today.

Guy James Fernandez, 42, was pronounced dead before he arrived at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Nov. 9. He was arrested for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest after Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety officers went to the Wal-Mart store where Fernandez was accused of shoplifting and creating a disturbance.

Police said he threw an aerosol can at an officer and threatened to assault the officer. Officers shot him with a Taser but it had no effect and four officers then subdued him and placed him in a maximum restraint device.

Fernandez became short of breath and unresponsive and received medical aid on the site but his condition deteriorated in the ambulance, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.

Sonoma County coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said an autopsy has not determined the cause of death but there were no obvious cause such as a blow to the body.

Toxicology tests showed Fernandez had a methamphetamine level of 0.43 milligrams per liter in his blood. The toxic level is between 0.20 and 5.0 milligrams per liter and the level at which the body is affected by the drug ranges between 0.01 and 0.05 milligrams per liter, Mana said.

Fernandez also had 0.04 milligrams per liter of amphetamine in his blood, Mana said. That level is below the toxic level of 0.2 milligrams per liter but above the level of 0.02 milligrams per liter at which the body is affected by amphetamine in the blood, Mana said.

The final autopsy results and cause of death could take three to four months or longer, Mana said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department is investigating the in-custody death.


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