At 2:02 a.m., the San Bernardino, California Sheriff’s department responded to calls of a drunk man hanging out near the Victorville Courthouse. When they got there, they arrested the 50-year-old man for public intoxication and hauled him in to the Victor Valley Jail.
According to the authorities, “he remained in custody and was being monitored by jail personnel until it was determined he was able to care for himself.” It is unclear whether that determination was made by correctional officers at the jail, or by whatever trained medical personnel were available.
He was released from the jail at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, after having been in custody for almost 24 hours. This might have been sufficient time for full medical examination, but, the man having been classified early on as a “homeless transient,” it’s unlikely that one was performed.
A few hours later, someone reported seeing a dead body only steps from the jail property; when medical examiners arrived, they pronounced the unnamed transient dead at the scene. The man’s name is being withheld until the next of kin are notified, and as of now there’s no suspicion of foul play. The police plan to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
It’s unlikely that any real effort will go into investigating this tragedy; the sprawling exurb 85 miles northeast of L.A. is an area of high unemployment, and another transient dying in the streets is hardly news for the area.
Local jails and a nearby state prison are the area’s only major employers.