An inmate being transferred to a Maple Ridge prison in 2018 died en route from an accidental overdose of fentanyl and methamphetamine.
That is the verdict of a coroner’s inquest into the death of Alexander Charles Joseph that wrapped up on Aug. 13.
The 36-year-old was being transferred from Prince George to Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.
He died in a BC Corrections Branch vehicle along Highway 97 near Quesnel in the early hours of Oct. 4, 2018.
The five day inquest into his death began on Aug. 9 at the Prince George Law Courts where evidence was presented by witnesses under oath to presiding coroner Lyn Blenkinsop and a jury, whose job it was to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances – they were not to make findings of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.
The jury’s recommendations included: 20 minute video checks for each inmate being transported; physical wellness checks be undertaken hourly in a safe location when prisoners are being transported; that plans should be put in place for potential emergency situations during prisoner transports and drills should be conducted on a periodic basis to make sure the plans are adequate; and finally, that consideration should be taken to adapt transportation vehicles to provide a safe and comfortable environment for inmates.
The Coroners Act permits the chief coroner to direct an inquest if the chief coroner has reason to believe the public has an interest in being informed about the circumstances surrounding a death, or the death resulted from a dangerous practice or circumstance and similar deaths could be prevented through recommendations.
• With files from Neil Corbett
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