The death of a 36-year-old Lake Shore man Saturday after he was arrested by Cass County officials is being investigated as a possible methamphetamine overdose, it was learned Tuesday.
Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher said provisional autopsy results of Dennis Hedman showed methamphetamine toxicity. Fisher said the official cause and manner of death are pending a final toxicology report from the Ramsey County medical examiner's office.
Hedman was arrested during a traffic stop by Lake Shore and Nisswa police officers about 3:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the northwest side of Gull Lake for an outstanding warrant and alleged controlled substance crimes, Fisher said.
Fisher said Hedman was being transported by a sheriff's deputy to the Cass County Jail in Walker when he appeared to require medical attention. Walker Ambulance transported Hedman to the Park Rapids hospital and then to a Fargo hospital, where he died.
Fisher said if toxicology reports determine Hedman died from a methamphetamine overdose it would be the first Cass County case of a person dying in custody related to meth overdose.
"I don't want to specify that's what this is until we have the findings from the toxicology report but I think everyone recognizes the danger a controlled substance poses," Fisher said. "It's a tragedy for his loved ones and family."
Fisher said toxicology reports take about three weeks to be completed.
Because Hedman died after being in Cass County's custody Fisher said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the death.
Dave Bjerga, BCA special agent in charge of northern Minnesota, said it was not uncommon for suspects desperate to get rid of a drug to ingest a large quantity and become ill.
"It's not an everyday occurrence but it does happen occasionally because of the toxicity of it," he said. However, Bjerga said death by ingestion of narcotics is rare.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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