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.