LEAGUE CITY — A Deer Park man who was jailed on drug possession charges took ill and later died after he was taken to the hospital, League City police said.

Richard David Benefiel, 34, had been booked into the city jail Monday morning on marijuana possession charges after he was found parked alongside a rarely used road near Interstate 45 with the hood of his car up, League City Police Department spokeswoman Officer Reagan Pena said.

As the patrol officer talked to Benefiel, it appeared he was intoxicated, Pena said police reports indicate. A search of his car uncovered marijuana, and he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, Pena said.

When he was being booked into jail, Pena said Benefiel was asked if he wanted to be taken to the hospital to be checked out, but he refused. Given the suspicion he was intoxicated, jail detention officers continued to check on the man and asked if he needed medical attention — he refused each time, Pena said.

At about 5:55 p.m., though, when detention officers checked, Benefiel complained of body aches and requested EMS be called, Pena said.  

According to League City dispatch logs, EMS was called at 6:01 p.m., and an ambulance was en route by 6:02 p.m. By 6:03 p.m., detention officers reported that Benefiel was unresponsive and staff started CPR.

The EMS crew arrived at the jail at 6:05 p.m. and paramedics took over resuscitation efforts until Benefiel was transported to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster where he was pronounced dead at 7:28 p.m., according to reports.

The Harris County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy Tuesday, but the cause of death had not been determined pending toxicology results.

Pena said the police department’s criminal investigation division and office of professional standards would investigate Benefiel’s death. The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office was also informed of the incident, she said.

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

(7) comments

Sweet Sue LaRue

Do not break the law and then you will not die in jail.

Lars Faltskog

Probably, this individual never was making good use of his gift of life. Hope his family (nuclear and extended) find peace and solace after this.

Maybe he's in a better place (heaven?) now. Sounds like he died of alcohol poisoning, and perhaps alcohol mixed with some other substance. A cocktail of drugs, if you will.

MG Tex

Is it standard procedure to ask a detainee if they want to go to a hospital? If not, there must have been something about this guy that led police to ask him twice. So, if the reason he was arrested was because of intoxication, was he in a state of mind to make that decision? If he appeared ill enough to ask him twice, and yet we was intoxicated, could the police have taken him then rather then when he was in severe pain some time later?

Not a criticism of the police, just a curiosity of the system ...

Melvin Herrmann

When intoxicated and drugs are found, possibly, as they don't know how much alcohol or what other drugs may be in the persons system. The person could have been showing signs that something was wrong via body language or facial expressions and the officer saw this and asked. 6They have the right to refuse medical treatment just like a person does when involved in a car accident.

Melissa Wagner


Haroldjim Brown

Really? Wouldn't resuscitation have worked better? I've heard of being talked to death, but I had never realized it could actually happen.

Richard Worth
Richard Worth

Pardon my complete lack of compassion, but are We The People now liable for the hospital bill?

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